New virus variant will continue to emerge, but vaccines effective: China’s 'bat woman' Shi Zhengli
Published: Aug 04, 2021 07:31 PM
Shi Zhengli. Photo: Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)

Shi Zhengli. Photo: Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)

Shi Zhengli, a virologist from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) who is also dubbed as China's "bat woman," said that new variants of the novel coronavirus would continue to occur as an increasing number of infections provide more opportunities for the virus to mutate.

The Delta variant was first detected in India. The strain has appeared in at least 98 countries and regions and continues to mutate and evolve, according to the World Health Organization.

"We shouldn't panic, but we need to prepare to co-exist with the virus in the long term," Shi told media on Wednesday.

Shi noted that China is now under pressure to control the epidemic, but physical isolation is still effective in curbing transmission. "Prevent gatherings, practice social distancing, wear masks and wash hands frequently."

She said that the virus continues to mutate as more and more people get infected, providing opportunities for the virus. 

Shi said that she had spoken with some patients who got infected after vaccination and found that the vaccines, although they cannot prevent infection, are still effective in preventing critical disease. 

She urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible and called for accelerated research and development on mucosal vaccines to prevent infections through the mouth or nasal passage as well as drugs to treat COVID-19.     

The world's first aerosolized inhaled adenovirus type-5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV), jointed developed by CanSino Biologics (CanSinoBIO) and researchers from the Institute of Military Medicine under the Academy of Military Sciences led by Chen Wei, was proven safe in Phase-I clinical trials, the Global Times learned from CanSinoBIO previously.

Global Times