The year 2022 has barely begun and Dr. Anthony Fauci already has a worst-case scenario prediction.

The news: Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, recently told Yahoo Finance! that the worst-case scenario for 2022 would be a COVID-19 variant that can evade vaccines and natural immunity.

  • “The worst-case scenario is we’re on our way there and we get hit with another variant that actually eludes the immune protection. I hope that’s not the case,” Fauci said.
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Fauci said the omicron variant can already evade vaccines to some extent, but the vaccine prevents hospitalizations and death. Immunity and vaccination may stop the worst-case scenario, he said.

  • “The thing that makes it less likely, but not impossible, is that by that time, you will have so many people vaccinated and already infected, that you might have a level of community protection that may not get you away from the next variant, but would protect you from the severity of the next variant.”

Another prediction: Dr. Mark Dybul, a professor at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Medicine and immunologist, told Fortune that he expects to see a vaccine-resistant variant by spring 2022 — at least based on trends for the virus from the last two years.

  • “The faster we get boosted, the better off we’ll be for the next couple of months,” he said. “Sadly, every prediction I’ve made has pretty much come true. I hope I’m wrong this time, but I think by March, April, May, we will have a fully vaccine-resistant variant.
  • “There’s simply no way you can have such low rates of vaccination around the world with the virus ping-ponging between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
  • “I’m an immunologist. The probability of us seeing a vaccine-resistant strain is very high.”

Why this matters: Of course, we may have already seen this with the omicron COVID-19 variant, which has evaded vaccines and caused many breakthrough cases.

  • However, it’s still a reminder that there are more troubling potential variants out there. Vaccinations can help people stay safe from these dangerous variants, though.