There was hope among scientists and epidemiologists that the discovery of several vaccines against covid-19 could help achieve in many countries to achieve herd or herd immunity, as it is better known, through a combination of inoculation and previous infection. . Two variants of the virus detected caused them to change their minds.
Data from a vaccine trial in South Africa showed not only that a rapidly spreading variant of SARS CoV-2 could attenuate the effect of the vaccine. And what is worse, it also evades natural immunity in people who had been previously infected.
The laboratory models are being updated to take into account the ability of the variants to escape natural immunity and he hopes to provide new projections.
The new variants from South Africa and Brazil have undermined optimism and it is now believed that SARS-CoV-2 will remain an endemic virus, will continue to circulate in communities, but will also likely cause a significant burden of disease and death in the next few years.
As a result, the scientists said, people could expect to continue taking steps such as routine mask use and avoiding crowded places during covid-19 surges, especially for those at high risk.
Even after vaccination, there will be a need to wear prophylactic masks if a covid-19 variant persists, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden, said in an interview.
“All you need is a small movement of a variant (that causes) another wave.”
However, not everything is hopelessness. Some scientists acknowledge that the outlook could improve. New vaccines, which have been developed at record speed, still appear to prevent hospitalizations and death, even when the new variants are the cause of the infection. Many vaccine developers are working on booster shots and new shots that could preserve a high level of efficacy against the variants. And scientists say there is still a lot to learn about the immune system’s ability to fight the virus.
Thanks to vaccines, COVID-19 infection rates have already declined in many countries since early 2021, with some drastic reductions in serious illness and hospitalizations among the first groups of people to get vaccinated.