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Covid-19 pandemic could move to endemic phase if cases continue to fall

feature nick government advisor petros karayiannis is concerned about the generation of new variants
Government advisor Petros Karayiannis

Cyprus and the rest of the world may finally see light at the end of the Covid-19 pandemic tunnel sooner rather than later, if the number of cases worldwide continue to decline, one of the island’s scientific advisors said on Thursday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (Cna), Dr. Petros Karayiannis, who is a member of the Health Ministry’s Advisory Scientific Committee and a professor of Microbiology/Molecular Virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School, said that all countries which experienced a sixth wave depict a decline. Whether there will be a seventh wave, is something that the experts are still unsure about, he said, adding that there will be outbreaks in autumn and winter, if there are no new variants.

“If the current decline in the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide continues, this means we will transit to the endemic stage of the pandemic,” he said.

Karayiannis added that the Omicron variant BA.2.75 or Centaurus which has appeared in India and other European countries does not seem to be a cause for great concern.

“If this is how things continue, yes, I think we are in the transition period from the pandemic to the endemic”, said.

However, the professor added that when this transition period will end, is something that is uncertain, and depends on developments in the next four months.

Karayiannis urged people to get vaccinated, noting that the sixth wave went by as painlessly as possible due to the vaccination coverage and the protection the jabs offer.

Regarding elderly members of society who have already received their fourth dose, he said that if five or six months have elapsed, then the Vaccination Committee will likely recommend a fifth dose, but such a decision will be taken by the Cabinet, he added.

Regarding the updated vaccines which cover the original and subsequent variants and especially the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Karayiannis said the vaccine which contains two mRNA components as well as the subvariants BA4 and BA5 has already been given the go ahead in the US, and will soon be approved by the EMA.

“Sooner or later, we will have it in Cyprus,” he added.

The first vaccine containing the two mRNA components is already in Cyprus and those over 30 years of age and especially vulnerable groups can receive the vaccine.

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