Virginia Tech expert warns more variants of COVID-19 possible, in addition to delta variant


BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The emergence of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 is making it even more difficult to put an end to the pandemic.

A variant is a mutated version of a virus that is produced when it is transmitted. Every time the virus reproduces in a new host, it has an opportunity to mutate.

“Most of the mutations are harmless, but sometimes the change will result in a stronger or more contagious version of a virus. And when that happens, it hurts us,” explained Dr. Lisa M. Lee, professor of public health at Virginia Tech.

Lee says we will continue to see new variants as long as the virus continues to be transmitted.

“Until 85 percent of the world’s population is vaccinated, the virus will mutate and produce variants. That is the unfortunate reality of viral replication. Our best hope for returning to something closer to pre-COVID life is swift vaccination of all communities,” advised Lee.

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