Sai Reddy, a researcher and immunologist at ETH Zurich, has warned of the potential emergence of a new super variant of the coronavirus that could occur if features of existing variants combined, reported RTS.
Reddy, who works at the biosystems science and engineering department of ETH Zurich in Basel, told the SonntagsBlick newspaper that it is very likely that a new variant will emerge and that we will no longer be able to rely on a single vaccination. That’s why we have to prepare for several vaccinations over the next few years, which will be continuously adapted to new variants.
The beta (South Africa) and gamma (Brazil) coronavirus variants have mutated in ways that allow them to partially evade antibodies. Delta (India) is much more contagious, but has not yet developed the same antibody evading mutations seen in the beta and gamma variants. However, if beta or gamma becomes more contagious, or if delta mutate like beta and gamma, then we could be talking about a new phase of the pandemic, according to Reddy. “This would become the big problem of the coming year. Covid-22 could be even worse than what we are experiencing now”, he said.
Reddy also favours third vaccine booster shots. The delta varient can get past vaccination because of its high viral load. We need to counter that with a high level of antibodies, which is exactly what a third booster shot does, he said.