Omicron’s next step… “It all depends on the new mutant personality.”

Researchers working on samples collected from Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine trial
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picture explanationResearchers working on samples collected from Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine trial
[AFP 연합뉴스 자료사진. 재판매 및 DB 금지]

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Although the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) Omicron mutation is taking the world by storm, experts are already thinking about the mutation that will come after the Omicron mutation.

CNN reported on the 21st (local time) that a new mutation may appear this year after the Omicron mutation pandemic, and the global Corona 19 situation is expected to be determined depending on the nature of this mutation.

According to statistics from Johns Hopkins University, more than a quarter of all COVID-19 cases in the United States occurred during the omicron mutation pandemic.

In addition, as of the 20th, 26 states increased the number of confirmed cases by more than 10% compared to a week ago, but 14 states decreased by more than 10% from a week ago.

This means that places where omicron mutations first spread in the United States, such as Boston and New York, have already peaked and have begun to decline.

Other places, on the other hand, are still raging. Medical leaders in Atlanta, Georgia, for example, say hospitals are still overwhelmed with patients.

People wait in line in front of the Corona 19 testing station installed in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
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picture explanationPeople wait in line in front of the Corona 19 testing station installed in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
[AP 연합뉴스 자료사진. 재판매 및 DB 금지]

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But infectious disease experts are optimistic about the situation in South Africa. In South Africa, where Omicron mutations appeared in the early stages, the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases surged as the Omicron mutation spread, but it peaked and is rapidly declining.

The UK, which was the first to be hit by the omicron mutation in Europe, is developing a similar situation.

“In the short term, the next four to six weeks will be a turning point,” said John Schwartzberg, a professor of public health at UC Berkeley.

He predicted that once the crisis of omicron mutation passes, the number of confirmed cases will steadily decrease from March to summer, just like last year.

Professor Schwartzberg cited the fact that many people had received the COVID-19 vaccine and developed some degree of herd immunity while undergoing the omicron mutation as a basis for his optimism.

However, experts weigh on the fact that the novel coronavirus that caused COVID-19 will not go away completely.

In fact, the H1N1 virus from the Spanish flu, which appeared in 1918, infected a third of the world’s population and killed 50 million people, still remains.

Yvonne Maldonado, a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, said: “The Spanish flu is the ancestor of the flu virus we see every year.

“In the United States, flu still kills about 35,000 people every year,” Swartzberg said. “And yet, we continue to live. But I don’t think we’ll go back to before[COVID-19].”

For this reason, what is important is the character of the next mutation. “We expect new mutations to appear,” Maldonado said. “It is uncertain what will happen next.”

Professor George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “We have no idea what kind of mutation will come next,” he said. .

If the next mutation is expected and Corona 19 does not go away, experts emphasized that vaccine companies should continue to make vaccines for the new mutation, and diagnostic tester manufacturers should make better diagnostic kits.

Professor Maldonado said the worst-case scenario is that the pharmaceutical industry cannot quickly create a new vaccine targeting the new mutation and the treatment does not work.

“We don’t need a scientific breakthrough anymore because we know how to stop COVID-19,” said Panagis Galliasatos, a pulmonary and intensive care physician at Johns Hopkins University. did.

Children vaccinated against COVID-19 in Los Angeles, USA.
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사진설명미국 로스앤젤레스(LA)에서 코로나19 백신 접종하는 어린이.
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