Vaccination is progressing slowly in most countries of the world and in some, like ours, the new variant of the coronavirus, called delta, is beginning to cause new waves of infections that, luckily, do not lead to the same degree of hospitalizations and death. thanks to vaccines, care and an already infected population.
We are living a moment of uncertainty in the face of the pandemic, because if vaccination does not accelerate in the world and in Mexico, we do not know when we will have a new variant and its characteristics.
Ed Yong, the science reporter for The Atlantic magazine, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, George Polk and a few others for their coverage of the pandemic, published an article a few days ago warning of this new danger.
I quote: “Every time a virus infects a new host, it makes copies of itself, with small genetic differences – mutations – that distinguish the new viruses from their parents. As an epidemic widens, so does the range of mutations and viruses that carry other advantages that allow them, for example, to spread more easily or slide past the immune system to compete with their standard predecessors. This is how we got super-transmissible variants like alpha and delta. And it’s the way that we might eventually face variants that can actually infect even vaccinated people. None of the scientists I spoke to know when that might happen, but they agree that the odds get shorter as the pandemic drags on. ‘We have to assume that is going to happen,’ Dr Ravindra Gupta from Cambridge told me. ‘The more infections that are allowed, the more likely the immune escape becomes.’
“’I don’t think that all of a sudden there is a variant that shows up and evades everything, and all of a sudden our vaccines are useless,’ Gupta told me. It will be incremental: with each gradual change in the virus, a part of the protection is lost in people. And the people on the edges, the vulnerable who have not mounted a complete response, will end up bearing the cost. “
The WHO names the variants with the Greek alphabet. The decisions of governments and citizens will determine if when the omega variant arrives it will be equally sinister, or if omega will be just an unremarkable scene during the closing act of the pandemic. _