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The variant of hope: Omicron may help us end the pandemic and the coming weeks are crucial
More transmissible but less deadly virus could make "living with Covid" a reality
Just as the world tried starting to “live with Covid”, easing restrictions and reopening borders to international travel, emergence of a new variant in South Africa froze everything again.
Is this never going to end? Are we bound to spend year after year under ever-changing pandemic restrictions, wearing masks, checking in to shopping malls, and getting regular vaccination boosters?
Hopefully not and, paradoxically, Omicron may actually herald the beginning of the end of the pandemic and our return to normalcy.
Few people may remember this now, but back in 2020 — long before we had vaccines and many expressed their skepticism about them ever being developed — scientists suggested that we should get ready for ongoing mutations of the virus, as it adapts to us and our environment.
Those mutations, however, need not be more lethal.
“…mutating to become more lethal to humans wouldn’t necessarily be in the virus’ best interests. If a virus goes in and immediately kills its host, that’s usually not very good because that limits its ability to expand and infect new hosts.”
Richard Kuhn, a virologist and director of the Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease in West Lafayette, Indiana, March 25, 2020 for Popular Science