COVID-19 will soon become a “fundamentally different disease,” turning, like other coronaviruses, into another cause of the common cold; this opinion was expressed by Professor Paul Hunter of the Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia in his article in the Spectator magazine.
According to the scientist, the SARS-CoV-2 virus will not go anywhere, and, like other coronaviruses, it will probably repeatedly manifest itself about once every five years. Vaccines, according to Hunter, will complicate its spread, although, over time, they will become less protective against infection, but will allow those who are ill to avoid hospitalization and death.
“COVID will become a fundamentally different disease. In a few years, the vast majority of infections will be asymptomatic or mild. In other words, like other coronaviruses, it will become just another cause of a cold,” the professor said.
He noted that the remaining coronaviruses are seasonal in nature and, as a rule, reach a peak in winter, so it can be assumed that the situation with this virus will be similar. New strains of SARS-CoV-2 are fraught with problems; however, according to him, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Delta strain may become the endpoint of the virus.
“Having barely jumped to a new carrier, the virus rarely works without failures. The virus is the key and its owner — that is, we are the lock. After the jump, the virus rapidly evolves until it learns to open the lock. The most suitable option begins to dominate, and evolution slows down dramatically,” Hunter explained.
The professor suggested that the “Delta” strain is the strongest, expressing doubts about the probability of a similar “surge” of other variants. “As we can see from the example of other coronaviruses, further mutations occur, thanks to which the virus bypasses the existing immunity, but by itself, one “runaway” mutation does not yet negate the accumulated protection against immunity and vaccines,” the scientist said.
In his opinion, the worst part of the pandemic – at least in the UK – is already over, but in this case, the successful implementation of secondary vaccination is important. “If everything goes well, new long-term restrictions are unlikely to be required,” he concluded.