Russian expert sees possibility of new coronavirus strain in about decade

# 09:49
20 May 2020

Another potentially deadly strain of coronavirus is likely to appear within the next ten years or so, Russia’s former chief sanitary doctor, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Gennady Onishchenko said on Wednesday., APA reports quoting TASS.

"It appears that new strains of coronavirus do not emerge every year," said Onishchenko, who is now first deputy chairman of the State Duma (lower house) Commission for Education and Science. "Previous outbreaks of coronavirus infections took place in 2002 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS) and 2012 (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)."

He said that outbreaks of coronavirus infections in 2002, 2012 and 2020 reveal "an approximate cycle of about 8-10 years."

"Maybe, it [a new coronavirus strain] may emerge even earlier," he added.


Onishchenko expressed hope that as a result of the current pandemic, humanity will receive sufficient herd immunity to COVID-19.

"The virus will keep circulating, but it won’t be as aggressive as it is now, due to acquired immunity," he added.

In his words, during every winter season, up to 200 various viruses circulate in the population, and the novel coronavirus might eventually become one of them.

Onishchenko also criticized the use of term ‘plateau’ with regard to the current downward trend in the number of cases in Russia.

"We already saw the rise in cases, the peak of the infection and the emerging downward trend. Not a ‘plateau,’ as some people say <…> it’s an emerging downward trend in the intensity of spreading of the novel coronavirus."

In his opinion, Russians should not treat positive news as a pretext to relax.