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Research: Vaccine resistant COVID-19 strains most likely to emerge when 60% of us are vaccinated

As Queensland and New South Wales battle to suppress the DELTA variant with push to get the populations vaccinated experts have warned that Vaccine resistant COVID-19 strains most likely to emerge when 60% of us are vaccinated.

Experts warn that Vaccine resistant strains are most likely to emerge when around 60 per cent of the population has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and we should keep wearing masks and social distancing.

The researchers (Simon A. Rella, Yuliya A. Kulikova, Emmanouil T. Dermitzakis & Fyodor A. Kondrashov ) found in modelling that if we relax the use of masks and social distancing when most individuals in the population are vaccinated, the probability of emergence of a resistant strain is greatly increased.

They also found a fast vaccine rollout decreases the probability that a resistant strain may emerge. The authors say measures such as mask-wearing, extensive testing or social distancing should be kept throughout the whole vaccination campaign to allow emergent resistant strains to naturally become extinct.

The authors recommend targeted non-pharmaceutical measures, such as mask wearing, extensive testing or social distancing, to reduce virus transmission rates towards the end of vaccination campaigns and allow emergent resistant strains to naturally become extinct. The authors suggest that any measures that reduce transmission, such as increased and widespread testing, rigorous contact tracing, high rates of sequencing and travel restrictions could increase the probability of emergent virus extinction, but note that they did not model the effect of these individual measures on virus transmission rates in their study.

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