Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Efforts to slow the spread of Omicron Variant could lead to vaccine-resistant superstrain

In the Wall Street Journal today there is an op-ed that describes the difference between antigenic drift versus antigenic shift and how current mitigation policies may lead to a risk of creating a superstrain that is vaccine-resistant. The writers push the notion that we should drop all mitigation policies and allow Omicron to spread. It will act as a natural vaccine and will get us out of this mess. This is the exit strategy governments of the world have been looking for. For God’s sake… take it!

The absolute risk of a more virulent strain of SARS-CoV-2 is low. That’s because viruses “care” more about propagating themselves than about killing the host: Most viruses evolve to become more infectious and less virulent. But this is only a rule of thumb, not a biological law. Like any trend, we should expect a distribution of outcomes around the modal one—and the more iterations you allow, the more likely you are to get an unlikely outcome. Enforcing social-distancing policies amid widespread vaccination makes the emergence of a vaccine-resistant superstrain more likely.

Slow the Spread? Speeding It May Be Safer – WSJ