It is almost certain that new mutations of Sars-CoV-2 are likely to emerge as time goes on. The question is whether the virus behind the worst pandemic in a century will evolve to become more or less threatening in terms of its harmfulness to human health, contagiousness and resistance to vaccines.
Although the history of past viruses offers potential scenarios for the current pandemic’s trajectory, there is no firm consensus on the threat posed by emerging variants. Experts widely agree that Sars-CoV-2 will continue to circulate in some form or another for years to come, but there is no way of knowing exactly how it will evolve, and not all mutations are necessarily more dangerous or concerning.
While there is evidence that the Delta variant is more easily transmitted among vaccinated people than the original Wuhan strain, none of the variants has been proven to render vaccines ineffective at preventing serious illness and death. Some experts have predicted Sars-CoV-2 could become less virulent – or severe – over time, in accordance with the virulence-transmission trade-off hypothesis.
Nevertheless, high vaccination rates would still be crucial to getting back to normality.
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