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June 17, 2024

Will there be another newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant that outcompetes KP.3 or is this the end of the virus's 'gentle' survival strategy?

There is no need for further comments on the variant proportions (for weighted estimates) as depicted above. Since the emergence of JN.1, several other variants have joined the club, thanks to a marginal transmissibility advantage that allowed them to gradually increase their contribution to the viral landscape. However, none of them have been successful enough to supplant JN.1 completely. Hence, new variants have emerged while the proportions of previously emerged variants with enhanced transmissibility have gradually declined.

The most recent front-runner is KP.3. Will KP.3 manage to kick JN.1 out of the game and gradually become the new host-friendly variant that dominates the scene? Or will its marginal fitness advantage be insufficient to ensure the survival of SARS-CoV-2, prompting the virus to evolve into a completely new coronavirus species capable of triggering unrestrained intra-host transmission and spread? You know what I think...

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Geert Vanden Bossche received his DVM from the University of Ghent, Belgium, and his PhD degree in Virology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany. He held adjunct faculty appointments at universities in Belgium and Germany. After his career in Academia, Geert joined several vaccine companies (GSK Biologicals, Novartis Vaccines, Solvay Biologicals) to serve various roles in vaccine R&D as well as in late vaccine development.

Geert then moved on to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Discovery team in Seattle (USA) as Senior Program Officer; he then worked with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in Geneva as Senior Ebola Program Manager. At GAVI he tracked efforts to develop an Ebola vaccine. He also represented GAVI in fora with other partners, including WHO, to review progress on the fight against Ebola and to build plans for global pandemic preparedness.

Back in 2015, Geert scrutinized and questioned the safety of the Ebola vaccine that was used in ring vaccination trials conducted by WHO in Guinea. His critical scientific analysis and report on the data published by WHO in the Lancet in 2015 was sent to all international health and regulatory authorities involved in the Ebola vaccination program. After working for GAVI, Geert joined the German Center for Infection Research in Cologne as Head of the Vaccine Development Office. He is at present primarily serving as a Biotech / Vaccine consultant while also conducting his own research on Natural Killer cell-based vaccines.

Email: info@voiceforscienceandsolidarity.org

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