The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) says in a report that future strains of the new coronavirus could be as deadly as MERS, which kills 35% of those it infects, reports the Mirror.
Mutations are more likely to occur when the virus is widespread – as is currently the case in the UK – and could change in ways that allow it to escape current vaccines, although this is unlikely, according to the wise.
The emergence of such tensions could lead to a return to tighter restrictions and lockdowns, while dealing another huge economic blow to the country.
Scientists have suggested that the new strain could be vaccine resistant if formed from the jab-resistant “South Africa” beta variant as well as the more transmissible Alpha or Delta variants.
Dr Philippa Whitford, vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the coronavirus, urged officials to pay attention to the alarming report.
“This report, which should have sent shockwaves through the UK government, was instead quietly hidden among a glut of reports during the parliamentary recess,” she told Mail Online.
“The recommendations and comments made by SAGE boil down to the simple reality – that we have not yet ‘conquered’ this virus. “
In another report, scientists warned that the protection offered by vaccines against coronavirus infections and potentially serious illnesses is very likely to wane over time.
As a result, vaccination campaigns will continue for years to come.
The document, titled “How Long Will Vaccines Continue to Protect Against COVID?” Was written by leading virologists and epidemiologists from Imperial College London, the University of Birmingham and Public Health England.
Britain has approved and is using three injections – Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – in a mass vaccination program that began in December 2020.
Real-world data shows that these vaccines protect with 95% or more effectiveness against the Alpha variant that was dominant in Britain in early 2021, scientists said, although the ability of the injections to protect against infection and the subsequent transmission is lower.
They said that one might expect the vaccine’s efficacy to remain high for serious illnesses, but the efficacy against mild illnesses and infections might decline over time.
Anecdotal reports from Britain and Israel, which launched a first comprehensive campaign, supported this concept, they said.
Israel will begin offering a third injection of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people over 60, a world first in efforts to slow the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Since the emergence of the Delta variant, the Israeli Ministry of Health has twice reported a decline in the vaccine’s effectiveness against infection and a slight decrease in its protection against serious illness.
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