In the ongoing struggle of SARS-CoV-2’s genes versus our wits, the virus that causes Covid-19 relentlessly probes human defenses with new genetic gambits. New variants of this coronavirus with increasing transmissibility have sprung up every few months, a scenario that is likely to continue.
Some experts believe that the pandemic appears to be on an evolutionary slide toward becoming endemic, a “new normal” in which humans and the virus co-exist, as we currently do with influenza. But coronaviruses are clever. While an endemic resolution may be in sight, SARS-CoV-2 could still shock the human species with a devastating evolutionary leap.
Here are four possible scenarios, each taken directly from the known evolutionary playbookof coronaviruses.
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