Unvaccinated people serve as ‘stepping stone’ for coronavirus evolution, expert contends

TASS Russian News Agency | Jan 14, 2022 at 8:26 AM

MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Coronavirus can evolve in the body of both unvaccinated and vaccinated people, but the appearance of a new strain is more likely in an individual who has not been vaccinated, the Russian Health Ministry's Chief Independent Expert on Infectious Diseases Vladimir Chulanov said in an interview with RBC.

"An unvaccinated person is like a stepping stone for the evolution of the virus. If an individual is vaccinated, the likelihood that his virus will evolve and be transmitted to someone is much lower, since he may not be infected and not become a source of infection," the expert argued.

According to Chulanov, the virus has more chances for evolution and more advantages in a population where there is a considerable number of unvaccinated persons, that's the reason why the expert considers vaccination an effective antiviral agent.

On November 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the B.1.1.529 variant identified in South Africa as a "Variant of Concern" and assigned it the Greek letter omicron. In its statement, the WHO noted that "this variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning." Several changes at once in the spike protein can potentially hinder the neutralization of the pathogen by antibodies which may impact the effectiveness of vaccines.