Scientific government advisors have warned there is a “realistic possibility” that one in three people could die from a new variant.
The scientific advisors have released a paper which outlines how the coronavirus pandemic could develop, which could lead to a doomsday scenario.
SAGE said that the new potential Covid variant could cause a “severe disease in a greater proportion of the population than has occurred to date.”
This new variant could have a similar mortality rate to MERS-CoV which first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 which resulted in death in 35% of cases.
There are fears that a new coronavirus variant could develop whilst the virus remains high in circulation and could potentially change the internal genes of the virus.
The SAGE paper said, “These genes determine the outcome of infection by affecting the way the virus is sensed by the cell, the speed at which the virus replicates and the anti-viral response of the cell to infection.”
The Beta strain is more resistant to vaccines and could in the future merge with the Delta or Alpha which are highly infectious strains.
The paper adds, “However, an increase in morbidity and mortality would be expected even in the face of vaccination since vaccines do not provide absolute sterilising immunity i.e; they do not fully prevent infection in most individuals.”
Professor Martin McKee, of public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said, “These stark words from the Government’s own advisors underlines what many of us have been warning about and confirms there are still obstacles to overcome.
“The government can’t be complacent, they must continue their support for the development of the next generation of vaccines and prioritise the reduction of infections here at home to reduce the possibility of another domestic variant emerging.”