(ORDO NEWS) — The World Health Organization has provided updated guidance on Covid-19 and listed three possible scenarios for the development of the pandemic baseline, best and worst.
The World Health Organization has released an updated – and probably the last – action plan to combat the coronavirus. It outlines the main strategies for the next 12 months, following which, according to experts, will help the world finally get out of the emergency phase of the pandemic.
“The most likely scenario is that the virus will continue to change, but the severity of the disease it causes will decrease over time as immunity levels rise due to vaccinations and past infections,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing on Wednesday.
According to the baseline scenario, SARS-CoV-2 will cause less severe outbreaks, but with periodic bursts of transmission due to weakened immunity of the planet’s inhabitants.
People who are at risk for Covid-19 and exposed to it to a greater extent will need revaccination. Most likely, the coronavirus will become more seasonal with peaks in the cold months – by analogy with the flu. Generally speaking, this is already happening.
The second scenario for the development of the pandemic is the best of three: future strains of SARS-CoV-2 will be “significantly less” dangerous, protection against a severe form of the disease will be longer, and without the need for booster vaccinations. According to this scenario, there will be no need to seriously change the developed coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, in the worst case, a more virulent and easily transmitted variant of the Covid-19 pathogen will appear – “from a pre-existing or recently appeared animal reservoir or due to a recombination event” (exchange of genetic material between parent viruses), in which the person who has become infected will play the main role two different strains of SARS-CoV-2.
Against this option, according to WHO representatives, vaccines will be less effective, protection against severe disease or death will quickly weaken, especially in vulnerable patients. Prophylactic drugs will need to be heavily modified, redistributed and/or more actively vaccinated risk groups.
“It must be recognized that all scenarios have a high degree of uncertainty, so we must provide flexibility to adapt to the dynamics of transmission of the virus, the severity of the disease and their impact on the individual, the population and the level of immunity,” the recommendations emphasize.
WHO is urging countries to continue or expand virus surveillance measures to ensure they are aware of changes in time and not stop testing. You should also not forget about the post-COVID syndrome (prolonged Covid-19), improve its diagnosis so that you are not faced with total disability after the pandemic.
“Absolutely, Covid-19 will not be the last pandemic. But the risk that it will happen and what losses it can bring if it happens is where we have influence. We must learn the lessons of this pandemic,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Although vaccines have not been as effective against the omicron strain and its spread, the goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population remains valid. As of the end of March, approximately 36% of the world’s inhabitants had not received even the first dose – including 83% of people in Africa.
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