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A study published yesterday predicts that eventually COVID-19 will be just another endemic virus which circulates in the population but rarely makes anyone seriously ill. How soon we get to that point will depend on the speed of our vaccination rollout.
“The timing of how long it takes to get to this sort of endemic state depends on how quickly the disease is spreading, and how quickly vaccination is rolled out,” said Jennie Lavine, a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, who led the study…
While all of these coronaviruses produce a similar immune response, the new virus is most similar to the endemic common cold coronaviruses, Dr. Lavine and her colleagues hypothesized.
The viruses that cause the common cold have already spread to people around the world. Most people are exposed to those viruses for the first time as children when their immune response is strong. And over time, people get reinfected and their immune response to the cold virus gets stronger. The reason the coronavirus is so deadly is because it’s essentially a new virus that is hitting the immune systems of older people who are less able to fight it off. If they’d encountered the same virus as children and built up a resistance, they wouldn’t be so ill now.
Another possible scenario, where the vaccine completely prevents the spread of the virus until it disappears, is less likely in this case:
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