Additional, more contagious variants of SARS-CoV-2 are likely to emerge, the Financial Times reports.
Variants like those that have been identified in the UK and South Africa, respectively, appear to be more easily transmitted between people and the UK B117 variant further appears to have led to a rise on COVID-19 cases there, FT adds. It notes that other viral strains have likewise been spotted in Japan and Brazil, but though the Brazilian strain seems to be increasing in frequency, it is as yet unclear whether it is more contagious.
More, Salim Abdool Karim, the chair of South Africa's COVID-19 ministerial advisory committee tells it, are likely to follow as pressures on the virus grow. "We're going to see this occur more commonly now than in 2020, as we vaccinate and as more people are infected," he tells FT.
It adds that a new modeling analysis in Science suggests the virus may eventually become endemic, though author Ottar Bjornstad from Penn State says "maximum effort should be on weathering this pandemic."