Sky News – The emergence of a new COVID variant with a similar death rate to MERS, which kills one in three infected people, is a “realistic possibility”, the SAGE’s government’s scientific advisers have warned. SAGE is the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and provides scientific and technical advice to support the UK government decision makers during emergencies.
However the experts also say the virus could result in “much less severe disease” in older people and those who are clinically vulnerable in the long term.
As eradication of SARS-CoV-2 will be unlikely, we have high confidence in stating that there will always be variants. The number of variants will depend on control measures.SAGE
The scientific study shows the chances that a new variant will evade current vaccines, stating that the eradication of the virus “will be unlikely” and the scientists have “high confidence in stating that there will always be variants”. SAGE warned that the likelihood of a more severe variant under these circumstances was a “realistic possibility”.
SAGE said a scenario where a variant evades current vaccines because of a process known as “antigenic drift” is “almost certain”.
SAGE suggests that the UK needs to continue vaccinating vulnerable age groups “at regular periods with updated vaccines” to the dominant variants to increase their protection.