Scientists expect the coronavirus to evolve more resistance against vaccines

Scientists have been studying the evolution of SARS-Cov-2 through experiments on cell cultures.  In a laboratory setting, the virus quickly evolves resistance to antibodies when challenged by them.  A mainstream view among evolutionary scientists is that the coronavirus variants will develop even more vaccine resistance than what currently exists.  However, the theoretical work may not necessarily translate to the real world because there are some limitations to the science.

Key points:

  1. We should be realistic about what science can and can’t tell us.  We don’t have great science that will help us confidently predict the outcome of the pandemic.  The optimism about a return to normal life is risky.
  2. One possible outcome is that more vaccine resistance emerges; humanity will likely be able to fight this with vaccine updates and more frequent vaccination.  Between vaccines and improvements in other interventions, the deadliness and transmissibility of the disease should be significantly lower going forward.  However, life won’t fully return to normal.

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