New Covid-19 variants in Canada could evade vaccination efforts, warn scientists
Canada/IBNS: Canadian scientists are concerned about the new variants of Covid-19 in Canada and are worried about their ability to infect people more easily as well as their ability to potentially destroy antibodies created in these patients after being infected or vaccinated, media reports said.
The widespread transmission of the virus also provides more opportunities to mutate again and again. These variants won't be the last, they warned.
"The more opportunity we give to the virus to replicate, to make more viruses, the more opportunity there is to see that variant of concern — one that won't be mitigated by our vaccines that we've developed," warned Alyson Kelvin, a virologist at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, CBC News reported.
Besides the use of vaccines, virologist and researcher Angela Rasmussen says, countries can strive to control emerging coronavirus variants by strict surveillance efforts and encouraging public health measures, including mask-wearing and avoid gatherings
"What concerns me the most is that the epidemiological data that goes along with some of these variants suggests they could very rapidly become very prevalent — effectively out-competing the other variants in a given area — in a short period of time," said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown University's Center for Global Health Science and Security in Washington, D.C., and incoming research scientist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, CBC News reported.
More transmission resulting in increased infections, hospitalizations, and more deaths can be seen in the short term, Rasmussen said, and added that the solution for this is slowing case growth to save lives as well as cut off channels for the virus to spread and mutate.
"It's also possible that variants may arise that decrease the effectiveness of our immune response to the virus," said Matthew Miller, a member of the Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University and the McMaster Immunology Research Centre in Hamilton.
"But also, of course — and perhaps more worryingly — the immune responses elicited by the currently approved vaccines," CBC News reported.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)