A document from the Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies), a group of outstanding scientists that supports the British government in decisions on the management of the health emergency, indicates that in the future a variant of Sars-Cov-2 with similar characteristics could emerge. Mers virus, capable of killing a third of those infected.
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A new Covid variant that is more lethal and potentially capable of killing a third of the infected is a realistic possibility. The alarm was raised by a document from the Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies), a group of outstanding scientists who support the British government in decisions on the management of the health emergency and which reported that – in the long term – it is not to be exclude the emergence of a strain with characteristics similar to the MERS virus and with a mortality rate of 35%.
The MERS virus was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and since then outbreaks have occurred in South Korea in 2015 and in Saudi Arabia in 2018. In total, only 2,500 infections have been identified worldwide, but the number of deaths is impressive, as many as 885, more than one in three . Well, the hypothesis that the Sars-Cov-2 mutations can lead to a more lethal strain cannot be excluded and according to the British scientists it will be essential to try to contain the increase in infections in the coming months by injecting vaccine boosters, limiting arrivals from abroad and considering – as a last resort – the killing of animals – such as minks – that can host the virus to prevent the mutant strain from spreading.
According to the Sage scientists, a future strain could be resistant to vaccines if it came out of the combination between the Beta variant, resistant to the vaccine, and the Alpha or Delta variants, more transmissible. The process – known as recombination – could lead to a mutation with “increased morbidity and mortality.” Experts also said vaccines should work anyway unless there is an extremely potent mutation. Martin McKee, Lecturer in Public Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “These crude words from government advisers underscore what many of us have warned about and confirm that there are still obstacles to overcome. The government cannot be complacent, it must continue to support it. development of the next generation of vaccines and prioritizing the reduction of infections to reduce the possibility of another national variant emerging. “