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One of the world's leading health experts says that there is a 'high chance' a strain of Covid-19 worse than Omicron will emerge in the near future.
England's chief medical officer, Sir Chris Whitty, predicts that the world would likely experience seasonal upticks in coronavirus outbreaks.
But he also warned of the possibility of more virulent or deadly strains taking hold in the next two years.
The UK's top doc, who advises Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government, said that the pandemic may still have a few tricks up its sleeve.
COVID-19 rates are still very high, and rising again
Vaccines substantially reduce rates of severe disease and hospitalisation but there is some reduction of effect over time
If you are over 75 or immunosuppressed and the NHS contacts you for a booster please take up the offer https://t.co/lDvEwYXMzt
- Professor Chris Whitty (@CMO_England) March 21, 2022
"I think we need to be aware there's a long way to go with this [pandemic] and it'll also throw surprises as it has," Sir Chris told the Local Government's Association public health conference.
"And there's a high chance that we will all be discussing, and I will be discussing with my colleagues, a new variant at some point in the next two years that actually significantly changes our balance of risk."
He added: "We could well end up with a new variant that produces worse problems than we've got with Omicron and the Omicron problems are by no means trivial."
Instead of hoping that Covid-19 will simply just go away one day, Sir Chris said we need to learn to live 'and just roll with it', echoing similar comments made by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said Aussies need to 'learn to live with the virus'.
The gloomy health prediction comes as a new strain called Deltacron has begun to surge in the UK and Europe.
The new variant, which is also known as BA2, was officially recognised as a variant last week after its genomic sequence was uploaded to the global Covid-19 database by French virologists.
Initial research into the new variant revealed it is similar to the Delta strain, but has some nasty characteristics of the Omicron mutation, sparking fears that Deltacron could now be a potent, highly infectious combination of the two strains.
One expert, Associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Jeremy Kamil, described Deltacron as being like the Delta variant getting a software upgrade while wearing Omicron's invisibility cloak.
Scientists believe the mutation may have emerged from a person infected with both strains at once, allowing them to become a human petrie dish.
This is the first time a hybrid of two major strains of coronavirus has been discovered.
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