Omicron could be the end! Evolutionary scientists say Covid 'may be settling down


    “I think there’s a plausible case that we won’t be stuck on a new variant treadmill forever,” he told the Times yesterday, though he added, “I have learnt to never rule out any outcome.” After the Alpha variant was identified in Kent and swept through the world it was superseded by a new – Delta variant – within months. Delta in turn was supplanted by Omicron.

    However, nine months since Downing Street almost instituted a lockdown in the face of highly transmissible Omicron, the descendants of Omicron are still the main circulating variant.

    This has led to hopes new variations will be based on small changes to Omicron – to which our immune systems have already been primed.

    Professor Anthony Brookes, an expert in genomics and bioinformatics at Leicester University said: “Viruses evolve like an arms race, changing to overcome our immune systems and in turn, our immune systems adapt to attack viruses.”

    “Delta could be likened to an army tank and, as we became immune to delta, different variants evolved. The Delta army tank evolved into a different shape of tank or variant or weapon to evade our immune systems again.”

    “Omicron was like a fighter jet – a different type of variant for our immune systems to deal with.”

    “However the virus doesn’t have an infinite range of options and will eventually run out of road. At some point we will have defences against all versions of covid at which point the virus will become endemic affecting only those who have underdeveloped or poor immune systems like the very young, the very old or those who are immunocompromised.”

    “This is the case for the covid as for all viruses regardless of lockdowns, masks or vaccines – though covid vaccines have helped reduce mortality.”

    “But we do not know when this will happen and we cannot know if Omicron is among its last range of options.”

    “We’ve lived with viruses for billions of years and we’ve always won the arms race with viruses reaching a final endemic state – rising and falling at relatively low levels. There is no reason to think covid will be any different.”


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