COVID Q&A: The Future of COVID

Jul 28 2022


We might no longer be in lock down or under tight restrictions but unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still here.

With more than 10,000 COVID cases per day in NSW in late July 2022, experts are warning people to get their fourth dose of the vaccine.

So what is the future of COVID?

HMRI hosted a Q&A session with HMRI respiratory disease researcher and physician Professor Peter Wark and HMRI viral Immunologist Associate Professor Nathan Bartlett to share their thoughts as to what the future may hold for COVID.

Both agree the situation remains very serious, and pointed out Australia currently has the largest number of patients in hospital due to COVID than we have had since the COVID pandemic began.


Our expert presenters addressed the following:

  • After having COVID with only minor symptoms, is it common to experience extreme tiredness and a general lack of motivation in energy levels? (2:20)
  • Is there a longer long COVID? (4:40)
  • When can we expect to have a new kind of COVID vaccine that might target a different part of the virus? (7:30)
  • Should we expect future vaccines to last longer than the first generation of vaccines? (10:11)
  • Should we expect more mutations? (11:23)
  • Is it better to get the fourth vaccine or wait for a better vaccine? (15:02)
  • What are some of the practical things people in the community can do to help stop the infections? (18:04)
  • What are some of the antivirals being used? Who should take them and do they work? (21:20)
  • Are there any other treatments for COVID that are available now or may be available in the future? (27:48)
  • If I get COVID more than once, will I get sicker every time?  (35:17)
  • Has there been a change in the way people are presenting to hospital now compared to the first stages of the pandemic? Are people getting sick in a different way? (37:32)
  • “I have an autoimmune disease (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). I’ve my 3 shots and haven’t had COVID yet. Am I an anomaly or very lucky?” (43:32) 
  • How effective are RAT tests? (45:33)


Our presenters:

Professor Peter Wark is a Senior Staff Specialist in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital. He is also a senior respiratory researcher at HMRI and the University of Newcastle. Professor Wark has also been appointed to the NSW Health COVID-19 Council of Clinical Practice.

Associate Professor Nathan Bartlett is a virologist and Head of Viral Immunology and Respiratory Disease research at HMRI and the University of Newcastle. He has been leading the development of a nasal spray to be used for protection against COVID-19 and other viruses which is currently in clinical trials.