First-gen Covid vaccines would be ineffective in a year due to constant virus mutation: Experts

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 31, 2021

Persistent low vaccine coverage could increase the likelihood of the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants of coronavirus, according to experts, The Independent reported.

The efficacy of the vaccines currently in circulation can be imperiled by the evolving mutations of the virus in the future, as per the 77 scientists from 28 countries who were surveyed by the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

The newspaper revealed that two-thirds of the poll respondents said that in a year or so, most vaccines that are currently in circulation would be “rendered ineffective” due to the constant mutation of the Covid-19 virus. This will necessitate the procurement of “modified jabs” to contain the spread of the virus.

About 88 per cent of the respondents also argued that “persistent low vaccine coverage in many countries” would likely push the probability of vaccine-resistant mutations.

Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, explained: “The more the virus circulates, the more likely it is that mutations and variants will emerge, which could make our current vaccines ineffective.”

“At the same time, poor countries are being left behind without vaccines and basic medical supplies like oxygen. As we’ve learned, viruses don’t care about borders. We have to vaccinate as many people as possible, everywhere in the world, as quickly as possible. Why wait and watch instead of getting ahead of this?” he retorted.

Around three-quarters of the respondents also suggested that, in order to increase global access to Covid-19 vaccines, their manufacturers should “share technology and intellectual property”.

“Unless we vaccinate the world, we leave the playing field open to more and more mutations, which could churn out variants that could evade our current vaccines and require booster shots to deal with them,” said Gregg Gonsalves, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale University, as cited in the Sputnik International report.

“The virus doesn’t respect borders, and new variants somewhere on the planet mean none of us are safe,” Gonsalves added.

Published on March 31, 2021

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