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Like the flu researcher says coronavirus variants could require annual vaccinations.

Posted in Canada, Featured

Published on April 07, 2021 with No Comments

‘Variations of this virus will be around for a long time’ — Marc-André Langlois, University of Ottawa.

A leading Canadian virologist says people could get annual COVID-19 shots in the future as the virus continues to mutate and produce new variants.

Marc-André Langlois of the University of Ottawa is leading the new Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network, a research team that brings together experts from across Canada to study the science behind these variants, and how to manage their spread as much as possible.

“Variations of this virus will be around for a long time,” Langlois said in an interview airing today.

“It may even become endemic, which means that every year when we get our flu shot, we’ll be getting our coronavirus shot for whatever variants are circulating at that specific time.

He’s only a week into the job but Langlois already knows the challenge he and the 30 other researchers in the network face. Governments are keen for answers.

“They want to know if there’s a variant that is more resistant to one type of vaccine rather than another, which would prompt a redirection of the supply chain of the vaccines to send a vaccine that is more effective against a certain variant in one region and redeploy the other vaccines in another,” he said. “So there are huge implications surrounding these variants.”

Canada is now experiencing a third wave in this year-long pandemic, prompting several provinces to reimpose strict lockdown measures this week to reduce the spread.

British Columbia and Ontario implemented sweeping restrictions and Quebec ordered lockdowns in three cities as infection rates spiked, threatening to overwhelm hospital intensive care units. Doctors are reporting that entire families are showing up at hospitals — a stark change from earlier waves of the virus.

‘This is a new pandemic’

“The variants of concern are spreading rapidly. This is a new pandemic. We’re now fighting a new enemy,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Thursday, announcing a partial lockdown for the next four weeks at least. “The new variants are far more dangerous than before. They spread faster and they do more harm than the virus we were fighting last year.”

Dr. Lisa Salamon works as an emergency room physician with the Scarborough Health Network in Toronto’s east end. In a separate interview on The House, she described seeing whole families arrive at the ICU because both parents are sick.

“And as you may imagine, that has to be really tough on those kids,” she said. “So it’s not been easy for the kids, for the teenagers and for the people in their early 20s when they have their parents in the ICU and they can’t see them, they can’t see them other than on an iPad.”

Not only are more people getting sick, they’re getting sicker thanks to these new variants. And unlike the experience of previous waves, doctors are reporting that more young people are showing up among those experiencing severe symptoms.

 

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