New Delhi: Two years into the pandemic and leading health experts are now saying that COVID-19 will eventually be like a common cold.
Professor Sir John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University told Sky News that the virus could resemble the common cold by spring next year as people’s immunity to the virus is boosted by vaccines and prolonged exposure.
Professor added that the worst is over and things should be fine once winter has passed as there has been a continued exposure to the virus and its mutants.
Sir John said, “If you look at the trajectory we’re on, we’re a lot better off than we were six months ago,” Sky News reported.
“So the pressure on the NHS is largely abated. If you look at the deaths from COVID, they tend to be very elderly people, and it’s not entirely clear it was COVID that caused all those deaths. So I think we are over the worst of it now and I think what will happen is, there will be quite a lot of background exposure to Delta,” he added.
He emphasised that the number of cases is quite high but those who have had two vaccines and are infected will still lead to stronger herd immunity.
Earlier this week, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, whose work helped to develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, said viruses tend to become weaker as they spread around.
“I think we’re headed for the position Sarah describes probably by next spring would be my view,” Sir John was quoted as saying.
Downplaying fears of a more deadly new variant, Dame Sarah had reportedly also suggested that COVID will cause milder illnesses. At a webinar in the Royal Society of Medicine on Wednesday, Sarah said coronavirus is unlikely to mutate into a strain that can evade vaccines because there “aren’t very many places for the virus to go”.
It is noted that viruses become less virulent as they circulate more easily and there is no reason to think we will have a more virulent version of Sars-CoV-2, Sarah was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, vaccine manufacturer Moderna’s chief executive Stéphane Bancel on Monday said that the coronavirus pandemic could be over in a year as increased vaccine production ensures global supplies. “Look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this earth can be vaccinated. Boosters should also be possible to the extent required,” he told a Switzerland-based newspaper in an interview.