KEY POINTS

  • The academics recommended reducing virus transmission
  • The paper also called for new vaccines that induce high levels of mucosal immunity
  • CDC Director Dr. Walensky said COVID-19 could be a "few mutations away" from evading vaccines

An analysis by a group of British academics has suggested that future COVID-19 variants could lead to “vaccine failure.”

In a paper published Friday by the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, British academics said they believe the eradication of COVID-19 is “unlikely.” They also noted that there will be “a gradual or punctuated accumulation of antigenic variation that eventually leads to current vaccine failure.”

The academics recommended that authorities should work to reduce virus transmission to reduce the chance of a new variant capable of resisting and evading current vaccines. The paper also suggested working on new vaccines that could also induce high levels of mucosal immunity in inoculated individuals. 

"As vaccines become more widespread, the transmission advantage gained by a virus that can evade vaccine-acquired immunity will increase," the British researchers wrote, as reported by CNN.

The analysis has not been peer-reviewed. It also did not provide proof that a vaccine-resistant variant is currently circulating. 

The research comes after Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that COVID-19 could be “just a few mutations away” from evading existing vaccines. 

“These vaccines operate really well in protecting us from severe disease and death, but the big concern is that the next variant that might emerge — just a few mutations potentially away — could potentially evade our vaccines," she said in a press briefing on July 27, as reported by Business Insider. 

A group of researchers recently found that people who have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus play a key role in the mutation of the virus, a research published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports said. 

The research echoes the findings of a CDC study, wherein it was suggested that vaccinated people could also transmit the highly contagious Delta variant as easily as unvaccinated individuals

The CDC study found that, among 469 COVID-19 cases identified among Massachusetts residents, at least 74% occurred in fully vaccinated people. Among those who experienced breakthrough infections, at least 79% were symptomatic. 

The researchers concluded that the best way to prevent the emergence of a new vaccine-resistant variant is to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Pfizer-BioNTech_COVID-19_vaccine_(2020)_E Currently, the states with the lowest vaccination rates are Mississippi, Alabama, Wyoming and Arkansas. Photo: Creative Commons