People long for the end of the corona pandemic. At the beginning of the year, virologist Christian Drosten was hopeful that the moment would come in 2022. Now, however, this is a long way off. How the Corona explainer now looks into the future.

The interview of the Charité virologist Christian Drosten in the “Spiegel” is headed with the characteristic sentence “I would actually like to correct myself”. That moves some. Because many people have relied on his corona forecasts.

That’s why one thing should be made clear right at the beginning: It’s not about saying that Drosten was wrong. Rather, it should be explained why the expert is now revising or specifying some of the key statements and why his opinion is now different than it was a few months ago. On the one hand, this is the normal process in scientific work – that researchers gain knowledge. On the other hand, the development of the corona virus is unpredictable, just like people’s behavior or political decisions.

“We will have reached the endemic state by the end of the year, we are practically there,” said Christian Drosten at a press conference in January.

However, since January there have been new omicron sublines again. That’s why the virologist explained in the “Spiegel” interview that he would actually like to correct himself: “I no longer think that by the end of the year we will have the impression that the pandemic is over.”

New prognosis: Drosten still assumes that population immunity through vaccinations and infections will eventually be so strong that the virus will become less important. Then we are in the endemic state. However, “in the worst case, it could take a few more winters.”

Why? At the time, Drosten assumed certain basic requirements – for example that there would be a consistent political line in the fight against the pandemic and a highly effective update vaccine and that the virus would no longer change much. “Otherwise, of course, the endemic condition doesn’t just suddenly appear and we can celebrate something like World Endemic Day,” explains the virologist. “The endemic condition is a question of definition. It will be reached when fewer and fewer people feel the pandemic in everyday life.”

“Large parts of the population will probably be immunized with an update omicron vaccination in the second quarter,” said Drosten, also in January. At that time, the manufacturers Biontech and Moderna were also confident about the adapted vaccine. In this respect, the time planning was of course not in the power of the expert.

New prognosis: Drosten still considers an omicron combination vaccination to be useful for many people – now in autumn. This vaccination is only intended for people over the age of 70. “But you can also have a severe course at 50 and older,” warns the virologist. Such a vaccination will also be of some use to people who have been vaccinated four times. A weighting of the immunity in the direction of the omicron can therefore be expected, and I suspect that the effect will be better the greater the distance to the previous vaccination.”

Why? The speed of the mutations was unexpected. “Hardly anyone expected the virus to change so quickly,” explains Drosten. “When the Alpha variant came, it was very surprising for me, when Delta appeared I was skeptical at first, with Omikron you had to reorient yourself again, and since January there have been new Omikron sub-lines again.”

In the fall, Drosten said that sooner or later everyone has to get infected, and that one can also be responsible for that on the basis of a vaccination. The infection would develop mucosal immunity, which would protect against further infections. !function(){var t=window.addEventListener?”addEventListener”:”attachEvent”;(0,window[t])(“attachEvent”==t?”onmessage”:”message”,function(t){if (“string”==typeof

New forecast: “We are actually seeing an exponential increase in the number of cases again, the BA.5 variant is simply very transferrable,” says the corona expert. From September he fears we would have very high case numbers. And adds: “You can see in other countries that the number of hospitalizations and deaths will increase again; unfortunately that will also be the case with us. Overall, however, far fewer people will become seriously ill and die than in 2021.” !function(){var t=window.addEventListener?”addEventListener”:”attachEvent”;(0,window[t])(“attachEvent”==t ?”onmessage”:”message”,function(t){if(“string”==typeof

Why? At the same time as the strong contagiousness, BA.5 escapes the immune response even more than BA.1 and BA.2 (immune escape variant) and, according to Drosten, people lose their transmission protection from the last vaccination. Both those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered are infected again.

“Unfortunately, an infection is inevitable in the long term,” the virologist points out. “And little by little, a mucous membrane-specific protection is actually formed, which I assume makes the overall population immunity more resilient.” He assumes that at some point a new equilibrium will level off. In this context, Drosten emphasizes once again: “Under no circumstances should you intentionally become infected! You should continue to avoid that as much as possible, also because of the risk of long-Covid.”