The pandemic will end, and for this, the new coronavirus no longer needs to disappear from the earth. The scientific community agrees that SARS-CoV-2 will become an endemic respiratory virus, such as seasonal influenza.
Beatriz Mothe, an infectious disease service specialist at the German Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona, near Barcelona, said: “We may see the evolution of this virus. ” He predicted: “The virus will adapt.”
SARS-CoV-2 will become an endemic respiratory virus, such as seasonal influenza
There are many reasons, but they can be summarized into two: vaccination will not completely eliminate SARS-CoV-2, and the virus may evolve to continue to infect in a milder way without killing the host.
On the one hand, vaccines can prevent the most severe form of COVID-19, but it has not been shown that they can prevent the virus from spreading in the bud, nor can it prevent the immunity caused by the vaccine from lasting. So far, throughout history, the vaccination program has completely ended two diseases: smallpox and rinderpest, which have not affected humans, but caused severe food shortages.
On the other hand, viruses need hosts like humans to replicate and survive. Therefore, its evolutionary logic is not to kill the host, but to continue to infect to reproduce in it.
So far, the vaccination program has completely ended two diseases: smallpox and rinderpest.
Sonia Zúñiga, a virologist at the National Biotechnology Center of the Advanced Scientific Research Council (CNB-CSIC), said: “This virus has disappeared and we will continue to use it. Affect the transformation of the new coronavirus into an old acquaintance Some of the factors are its speed of transmission and vaccination rate.
One article The journalists of Nature added other arguments that support the argument that the coronavirus will not disappear from our lives. Some of the factors that can enhance the spread of SARS-CoV-2 on the earth are the reluctance of some people to be vaccinated and the possible changes in the behavior of those who already feel safe who have been vaccinated.This is why it is important After vaccination, we will continue to maintain protective measures: Masks, hygiene, ventilation and social interaction restrictions.
After vaccination, we must continue to take protective measures: masks, hygiene, ventilation and social interaction restrictions/©AdobeStock
The end of the acute phase of the pandemic will be accompanied by the popularization of vaccination, which should be extended to the world.Research estimates until 2024 According to data from the Global Health Innovation Center of Duke University, the dose distribution is uneven.
Since then, according to projection The virus will be published in the “Science” magazine in early 2021, and its transmission frequency will be reduced, and it will not cause serious symptoms.
The authors of this study compare SARS-CoV-2 to the other four coronaviruses that cause the common cold, that is, their “first representative”. They distinguished it from the predecessors SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV that appeared in 2002 and 2012.
According to another person, the post-pandemic phase will be affected by factors such as reinfection, seasonality and competition with other viruses. the work Published at the end of 2020 and also published in “Science”.
Survive at all costs: new variants
The emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 will complicate the situation. Although it has less variability than other viruses (such as influenza or HIV), new variants that are more contagious but not fatal have emerged.Their Mutations They focused on the S protein in the crown to better lock in human cells and continue infection.
Although SARS-CoV-2 mutates less than other viruses (such as influenza or HIV), new and more infectious variants have emerged
“In a sense, we provide viruses with opportunities to gain new mutations and evolutionary advantages, such as new mutations that can spread better and escape immune responses,” said Francisco Díez, a researcher at the National Center for Microbiology. Carlos III Institute of Health (CNM-ISCIII).
For example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) data, the D614G mutation appeared in January 2020 and became a major global mutation within half a year, replacing the original virus found in China. This new version of the virus is more contagious and spreading than the old version. All current variants now come from this.
One of them is VOC-202012/01, which added the N501Y mutation, which was first discovered in southeast England. According to the World Health Organization, the mutation has spread throughout the UK in less than two weeks. .
Although SARS-CoV-2 has fewer mutations than other viruses, the emergence of new variants will complicate the picture.
Or in South Africa, the virus variant 501Y.V2 (contains other mutations in Corona protein S, such as E484K and K417N) is associated with a higher viral load, which will translate into a higher transmission capacity, WHO.
Diez explained: “These are the weapons that the virus must survive: modify its genome.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has been studying the genetic diversity of the new coronavirus in Spain.
Zúñiga emphasized: “If the virus continues to develop in this direction, it will be difficult to eliminate, just like the flu virus.” Therefore, we hope that he will live with us and he will cause fewer and fewer serious cases.
Therefore, in addition to vaccines that may need to be updated from time to time, treatments will also be key to treating the most severe cases that require special attention.