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Experts says COVID-19 may become similar to a common cold: Report

The UK had reported 36,710 new COVID-19 cases and 182 deaths on September 23.

September 24, 2021 / 11:33 AM IST

Some experts in the UK say that COVID-19 could soon resemble a common cold, Sky News has reported.

Dame Sarah Gilbert, whose work was used in developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield in India), suggested that COVID-19 will cause milder illnesses.

Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine webinar, she said there "aren't very many places for the virus to go", and Sars-CoV-2 is unlikely to mutate into a more virulent strain that will escape vaccines.

"We normally see 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," said Gilbert, a professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University.

"It's just a question of how long it's going to take to get there and what measures we're going to have to take to manage it in the meantime," she said, as quoted by Sky News.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Professor Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, said COVID-19 could resemble the common cold by spring (April-May) next year, as people gain exposure to the coronavirus through vaccination and exposure.

He added that the UK "is over the worst" and things "should be fine" once winter (December-January) has passed.

The UK had reported 36,710 new COVID-19 cases and 182 deaths on September 23.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Sep 24, 2021 11:33 am

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