From the Introduction: "There is renewed urgency in rolling out mass-vaccination programmes due to the rise of variants of SARS-CoV-2 [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2]. Mass death in India and Brazil along with collapsing public-health systems have caused alarm among public-health officials and governments desperate to access vaccines to halt the spread of these variants, some of which are highly transmissible. [...] There are some variations in how variants are classified, but there are at least four variants of concern (VOCs) in circulation that have emerged since the onset of the pandemic. It is clear that until the world is fully vaccinated, these VOCs will continue to develop. Identifying them early through genomic surveillance mechanisms is absolutely vital. However, the current system for undertaking this critical work is inadequate to meet the challenge. It is important to distinguish between and among variants - their origins, their degree of transmissibility and whether they lead to worse health outcomes. The crucial question is whether the current Covid-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] vaccines are effective against them, particularly the VOCs, and if drug companies need to make updated versions that can respond to them."
2021 Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
Tony Blair Institute for Global Change: https://institute.global/