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Related Question on Metaculus:

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple novel variants have emerged as a result of continued evolution of SARS-CoV-2. Of particular importance have been variants of concern (VOCs), which according to WHO are assessed to have at least one of the following:

  • Increase in transmissibility
  • Increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation
  • Decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics.

The two currently circulating variants of concern are Delta and Omicron, with Omicron having been dominant globally (>50% prevalence of sequences) since the week of January 03-09 2022 according to GISAID. Before Omicron, Delta had overtaken all other variants to become dominant globally.

The purpose of this question is to inform whether and how vaccine formulations should be updated so that they are tailored to be variant-specific. Moreover, there is a need to understand the potential for a new wave of the pandemic driven by a novel variant.