There is still potential for the novel coronavirus to mutate into a new coronavirus variant, an infectious disease expert recently told the Deseret News.
Driving the news: Dr. Robert Quigley, an infectious disease expert and senior vice president of International SOS, a leading medical and security services company, told the Deseret News in an email that the coronavirus is constantly evolving, which could lead to a new variant down the line.
What he said: “COVID-19 is an evolving virus, and like any other virus it has a tendency to mutate,” Quigley said.
- “So long as there are accessible hosts (unvaccinated) where the virus can replicate there will be the continued risk of future mutations and hence new variants,” he added.
- “It is hoped that any new variant does not cause new disease and/or make the existing vaccines ineffective.”
The bigger picture: Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told Bloomberg Thursday that there’s about a 20% chance of a new dangerous coronavirus variant emerging in the near future.
- He said that the new COVID-19 variant would be more troublesome for people, especially vulnerable populations.
- Such a variant would require more boosters and restrictions.
What he said: “I think there’s an 80% chance that the variants that we’re going to see in the future are manageable from a severity standpoint and vaccine production,” Bancel told Bloomberg.
- “But I think we should always be very cautious, because there’s a 20% chance that something happens in some of the new variants that is very virulent.”
Worth noting: Scientists told Newsweek in August 2021 that there was a potential “doomsday COVID variant” down the line. This was expressed before the rise of the omicron variant, which surged through the United States this winter.
- Before the omicron variant, Dr. Mark Dybul, a professor at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Medicine and an immunologist, predicted a variant would rise this spring — likely due to the unvaccinated population.
- “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,” he said, according to Fortune.