Dr. Petros Karayiannis, professor of Molecular Virology/Microbiology at the University of Nicosia Medical School, said that it is a matter of time before Covid-19 weakens, adding that Cyprus might face another wave, which, however, he noted, will not be particularly severe.
Karayiannis, a member of the Health Ministry’s Advisory Scientific Committee, explained that even though he is reserved regarding the three new variants BQ.1, BQ1.1, and XBB, he is not particularly concerned.
As he said, BQ.1 and BQ1.1 are variants of Omicron 5, noting that several people have been infected with Omicron 4 and 5 this summer, so “there is some natural immunity.”
Regarding XBB, it is a variant of Omicron 2 variant which even though it is transmitted easily, no increase in hospitalisations has been observed in Singapore where it was first detected.
In reply to a question about when the virus will stop mutating, Karayiannis said that there is currently a standstill in infections and this is due to the fact that there are not many people without any immunity.
He added, however, that for the virus to ensure its continuation, it forms new mutations to escape from immunity, noting that we will get rid of Covid-19 when it will no longer find room to adapt.
As far as the fourth and fifth doses of the vaccine are concerned, he said that they increase immunity by 60% against Omicron 4 and 5, adding that vaccination is the only way to be prepared against the virus.