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'Coronavirus will end': U of M researcher predicts pandemic's end in 2022

U of M Immunologist Dr. James Baker told 13 On Your Side data suggested coronavirus would lose its pandemic status within the year.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Despite sky-high daily case counts and stark new warnings from federal health officials with regard to the pace of transmission, a University of Michigan researcher predicted the end may be in sight when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. James Baker told 13 ON YOUR SIDE he believed the virus would shake its pandemic status by the end of the year. 

"I think this year is a real turning point in the coronavirus pandemic," he explained via Zoom Wednesday. "I think that the waves of infection that we're seeing are starting to damp down, the virus is becoming less pathogenic, less serious in terms of the illness that it causes and eventually, these waves are going to damp down entirely as people develop immunity both from the vaccines and from recurrent infections. So I really believe that by the end of the year coronavirus, as a pandemic will end."

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The clinical immunologist and director of the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and the Biological Sciences was engaged in critical research as part of a national study gauging the body's immune response to the series of vaccines developed in late 2020.

Their initial findings, he said, which he expected to be released in the coming months, looked promising with regard to the vaccine's safety and efficacy. 

Though the pandemic may end, Baker cautioned that wouldn't necessarily entail the end of coronavirus itself:

"There will still be some infections," he suggested. "Certainly there will still be evidence the virus is mutating."

Even so, Baker stressed the importance of fully vaccinating as the single most effective means of staving off severe illness and bringing about the pandemic's end at a faster pace. 

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