Mutations could render current Covid vaccines ineffective in a year or less, epidemiologists warn


Mutations of the coronavirus could render current vaccines ineffective within a year, according to a majority of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists surveyed by the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

The survey of 77 experts from some of the world’s leading academic institutions across 28 countries found that almost a third gave a time frame of nine months or less. Fewer than 1 in 8 said they believed that mutations would never render the current vaccines ineffective.

Two-thirds thought that we had “a year or less before the virus mutates to the extent that the majority of first-generation vaccines are rendered ineffective and new or modified vaccines are required.”

The survey, published Tuesday, was carried out by the People’s Vaccine Alliance — a coalition of over 50 organizations including African Alliance, Oxfam and UNAIDS — that campaigns for equal global access to Covid vaccines.

The overwhelming majority of the experts — 88% — said that persistent low vaccine coverage in many countries would make it more likely for resistant mutations to appear. The People’s Vaccine Alliance warned that, at the current rate of global vaccination programs, only 10% of people in the majority of poor countries would likely be vaccinated in the next year.