| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Study says UK at high risk of new vaccine-resistant COVID strain

A new UK study published in the ‘Scientific Reports’ journal suggests that the country runs an increased risk of a new Covid variant that is able to evade vaccines, according to the UK news website inews.

This likely because a majority of the population have been vaccinated at the same time when mask wearing and social distancing have been relaxed.

The UK has at present vaccinated 56 percent of its population and is at optimum risk. Modellers estimate that when 60 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated a resistant strain is most likely to.

The experts contend that relaxing ‘non-pharmaceutical measures’ should wait and now now is definitely not the time for that.

Apart from masks and social distancing, other measures that could help curb transmission and vaccine-evading variants include increased and widespread testing, rigorous contact tracing, high rates of sequencing, and travel curbs, they say.

Fyodor Kondrashov, of the Institute of Science in Austria, said: “It was surprising that the peak of risk for emergence of a vaccine-resistant strain would be the time when most people are vaccinated.”

Dr Kondrashov advised people” to continue following reasonable prevention measures, such as mask wearing and social distancing, for the time being,” considering “the risk of evolution of new variants in the UK to be sufficiently high to urge a cautious approach…”

Vaccine protection highly likely to wane over time: Scientists

Meanwhile, scientists told the British government’s advisory group that the protection that vaccines give against coronavirus infection, and potentially severe disease, is highly likely to wane over time so vaccine campaigns will continue for years to come, according to Reuters.

The document, titled “How long will vaccines continue to protect against COVID?,” was written by prominent virologists and epidemiologists and was released on Friday.

“It is highly likely that vaccine induced immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and potentially severe disease (but probably to a lesser extent) will wane over time,” according to an executive summary of the document considered by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

“It is therefore likely that there will be vaccination campaigns against SARS-CoV-2 for many years to come, but currently we do not know what will be the optimal required frequency for re-vaccination to protect the vulnerable from COVID disease,” the scientists said.

  • alarabiya