(ORDO NEWS) — Based on an analysis of data on four known human coronaviruses that cause mild symptoms of the common cold, American scientists have made a forecast of the development of COVID-19 for the next decade. The authors believe that during this time the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will become endemic, and the immunity from a mild disease transferred in childhood will spread throughout life. The research results are published in the journal Science.
Analysis of immunological and epidemiological data on four human coronaviruses of the HCoV family allowed scientists from Emory University in Atlanta and Pennsylvania State University to develop a model to predict the trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 until it becomes endemic, that is, it will be maintained at a constant baseline. in the population, not fueled by external infections.
The authors emphasize that their model, which is very important, includes a separate analysis of such components of immunological protection as susceptibility to re-infection, weakening of the disease after re-infection, and the transmissibility of the virus after re-infection, each of which weaken in different ways over time.
The simulation results allow us to assess the dynamics of changes in the severity of the disease for different age groups of the population. The available serological data show that, as a rule, primary infection with all four endemic HCoV strains occurs at an early age and both types of antibodies are produced – short-term IgM, which determine the acute immune response, and IgG, which provide long-term immune memory.
It is also known that the prevalence of the HCoV family of coronaviruses in the population is very high. In childhood, these infections carry almost everything in the form of a children’s rhinitis, and then they no longer get sick. Cases of detection of IgM antibodies in people over 15 years of age are extremely rare.
The researchers suggest that when SARS-CoV-2 becomes endemic, the first infection will occur between the ages of 3 and 5 years, and the disease itself will proceed with symptoms of a mild cold. Elderly people, if they get sick, it will be mild, since the antibodies formed in childhood will provide them with a certain immune protection.
Large-scale vaccination, according to scientists, will not be necessary, since vaccines cause only short-term protection against re-infection. But now vaccination is needed. Vaccines reduce the severity of the disease and form a massive immune response that determines how quickly COVID-19 becomes endemic.
Perhaps, the authors believe, vaccination should be phased out gradually, keeping it for a longer period for certain age groups. Who it will be, the elderly, or vice versa, children, it will be possible to say only after some time based on the analysis of the dynamics of the development of the disease, scientists conclude.
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