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We have watched SARS-CoV-2 develop for 18 months and have some idea of its trajectory. The Delta variant is the prime example of strains succeeding each other, becoming progressively worse in waves of infection. As the world moves into the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 variants are now the fundamental issue at the root of many of our questions.
Will the vaccines work? Will we need new shots each year? Will the pandemic end or can we expect a renewed surge of Covid-19 cases every year, like we see with the flu?
Understanding virus variation is critical to understanding how the pandemic will unfold and how Covid-19 may continue to affect our global economy, our societies, and all of us individually. Will the current decline in new infections in the United States, for example, be permanent or a case of seasonal population immunity?
What is known about viral evolution presents scenarios we are likely to encounter in the coming months and years. The Delta variant may mutates to a point of increased lethality, it might evade vaccines’ effectiveness, it could challenges antiviral treatments designed to prevent and treat disease or, eventually, it may become less harmful, similar to the four coronaviruses circulating today, such as the common cold.
These are some of the questions and issues at the heart of a new book “Variants! The Shape-Shifting Challenge of COVID-19” by William A. Haseltine, who will share his point of view about the current scenario and the near future during this webinar.