Assessment of future threat from SARS-CoV-2
How the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 will develop in ten years, when it has moved from a pandemic to an endemic (localized infection) and remains at a constant level of infection in the population. Experts have tried to answer this question with the help of a model.
Using the model, a research team led by Jennie S. Lavine of Emory University in Atlanta (USA) tried to estimate how the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak would develop in ten years. The results were published in the English-language journal Science.
Analysis of known coronaviruses included
To answer how the threat of SARS-CoV-2 will develop in ten years, an analysis of four known endemic human coronaviruses, which circulate the world and cause only mild symptoms, can provide some important answers, the researchers explain.
Current analysis of immunological and epidemiological data for these viruses has helped the team develop a model to predict the threat of SARS-CoV-2 if the coronavirus becomes endemic.
Consider the components of immune protection
Most importantly, the model takes into account various components of immune protection. They include susceptibility to re-infection, alleviation of disease after re-infection, and transmission of the virus after re-infection, which vary in varying degrees, experts explain.
The team suspects that in the future, SARS-CoV-2 could generally lead to the disease in early childhood, the first infection occurs between the ages of three and five, and the disease itself would be mild. According to the research group, the elderly could still be infected, but their childhood infections would provide immune protection against serious illness.
Will SARS-CoV-2 quickly become endemic?
How quickly such a shift will occur will depend on how fast the virus spreads and what type of immune response SARS-CoV-2 vaccines produce. The researchers concluded from the model that if vaccines only protect against re-infection for a short time but still reduce the severity of the disease (as is the case with other endemic coronaviruses), SARS-CoV-2 may become endemic more quickly.
Will vaccination still be needed?
If the primary infection in children was mild when the virus became endemic, widespread vaccination may not be necessary, the team concluded. However, if primary infections in children become serious, as is the case with MERS or other more dangerous but contained coronaviruses, researchers believe that continuing vaccination in children would make sense. (as)
Author and source information
This text meets the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by medical professionals.
- Jennie S. Lavine, Ottar N. Bjornstad, Rustom Antia: Immunological characteristics govern the transition of COVID-19 to endemicity, in Science (veröffentlicht 12.01.2021), Science
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.