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Will COVID-19 eventually become a seasonal nuisance?

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19) isolated from patients in the United States. Viral particles have been shown to emerge from the surface of cells cultured in the laboratory. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give the coronavirus a crown-like name. Credit: NIAID-RML

Within the next decade, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can only cause a common cold-like cough and snuff, and can be nothing more than annoying. That potential future is predicted by mathematical models that incorporate lessons learned from current pandemics about how our body’s immunity changes over time.Scientists at the University of Utah have conducted research and are now in the journal Virus..

“This represents a future that may not yet be fully addressed,” says Dr. Fred Adler, a professor of mathematics and biological sciences in the United States. Collectively develops immunity. “

Findings suggest that changes in the disease may be caused by adaptation of the immune response rather than changes in the virus itself. Adler was a senior author of the publication, along with Alexander Beams, the first author and graduate student of the University of Utah’s Department of Mathematics and Epidemiology, and co-author of the department, Rebecca Bateman.

SARS-CoV-2, the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is the most well-known member of the virus family, while other seasonal coronaviruses are endemic in human populations. It’s much better. Some evidence suggests that one of the relatives responsible for these colds was once serious and may have caused an outbreak of the “Russian flu” in the late 19th century. Due to this similarity, scientists at the University of Utah wondered if the severity of SARS-CoV-2 could be reduced over time as well.

To test the idea, they built a mathematical model that incorporated evidence of the body’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2, based on the following data from the current pandemic.

  • There may be a dose response between viral exposure and the severity of the disease.
    • People exposed to small doses of the virus develop mild cases of COVID-19 and are more likely to shed a small amount of the virus.
    • In contrast, adults exposed to large amounts of the virus are more susceptible to severe illness and shed more virus.
    • Masking and social distance reduce the dose of virus.
  • It is unlikely that a child will develop a serious illness.
  • Adults infected or vaccinated with COVID-19 are protected from serious illness.

Running several versions of these scenarios showed that the three mechanisms were combined to create a situation in which the rate of population growth was predisposed to mild illness in the long run. Scientists felt that change was important enough and that new terminology was needed. In this scenario, SARS-CoV-2 is “Just Another Seasonal Coronavirus”, or JASC for short.

“In the early days of the pandemic, no one had ever seen a virus,” Adler explains. “Our immune system was unprepared.” The model, whether pre-infection or vaccination, is that as more adults become partially immune, the next 10 severe infections It shows that it almost disappears in the year. Ultimately, only children are exposed to the virus for the first time and, of course, are less susceptible to serious illness.

“The new approach here is to recognize the competition that is occurring between mild and severe COVID-19 infections and ask which type is long-lasting,” says BEAMS. “As long as we train our immune system to fight severe infections, we have shown that mild infections win.”

The model does not explain all the potential effects on the trajectory of the disease. For example, COVID-19 can be exacerbated if a new viral variant overcomes partial immunity. In addition, the prediction relies on the main assumption that the model is holding up.

“The next step is to compare the model’s predictions with the latest disease data to assess which direction we are heading in when the pandemic is occurring,” Adler says. “Does things look bad or good? Is the proportion of mild cases increasing? I know that can influence social decisions. ”


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For more information:
Will Alexander B. Beams et al., SARS-CoV-2 be just another seasonal coronavirus? , Virus (2021). DOI: 10.3390 / v13050854

University of Utah Health Sciences

Quote: Will COVID-19 eventually become a seasonal nuisance? (May 21, 2021) Obtained May 21, 2021 from https: //medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-covid-eventually-seasonal-nuisance.html

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Will COVID-19 eventually become a seasonal nuisance?

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