Can the novel coronavirus become a seasonal virus? New study shows that yes – but not yet


According to the findings of a recent review published in Frontier in Public Health, the novel coronavirus may one day become a flu-like seasonal virus – but the day will not come until herd immunity is achieved.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, will be seasonal in “countries with temperate climates” after the herd climate, according to a press release on the study’s findings. But until then, the study authors said that the novel virus “will continue to spread in all seasons.”

“COVID-19 is here to stay and it will cause outbreaks every year until herd immunity is achieved. Therefore, the public needs to learn to live with it and the best prevention measures, including wearing masks, physical wear Will have to continue to practice. To avoid distancing, hand hygiene and ceremonies, ”Dr. Hassan Zarket of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and senior author of the study said in a statement.

There are at least four already existing coronaviruses of seasonality – but why they are actually somewhat entangled in mystery. For example, the 2002–2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which claimed around 800 lives at the time, ended in summer – but a 2004 report on the seasonality of SARS did not establish a clear cause Was that why it was so? .

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The authors wrote at the time, “Our understanding of seasonal disappearance and the forces of recurrence of infectious diseases remains fragmented.” It is true that winter is the recurrence of the most established respiratory pathogens of humans, but tropical regions A new appreciation for the high burden of disease in the disease completely reinforces questions about clarification on cold air or low humidity. ”

For the new study, the researchers reviewed seasonal viruses, namely the flu and several types of common cold-causing coronaviruses. They investigated “viral and host factors that govern their seasonality as well as the latest knowledge on the stability and transmission of SARS-COV-2 according to release.”

There is a debate within the scientific community as to why some respiratory viruses are seasonal. Some factors that may contribute to seasonality can include cold temperatures and low humidity levels, which can cause the virus to persist longer in air and surfaces.

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“People’s susceptibility to infection and human behavior, such as indoor crowding, varies across seasons due to changes in temperature and humidity. These factors affect [the] The authors of the study stated that respiratory viruses are transmitted at different times of the year.

But at this time, COVID-19 is not like other respiratory viruses, namely due to its high rate of transmission (R0) which is “at least partially immune to circulating in naïve populations.”

“This means that unlike the flu and other respiratory viruses, the seasonal controlling factors of the virus may not yet prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the summer months. But, once the herd immunity through natural infection and vaccination Once achieved, R0 should be largely abandoned, which may make the virus susceptible to seasonal factors, ”the researchers released, per concluding statement.

The researchers’ findings echo the comments of an expert who told Fox News in June that the virus was unlikely to kill during the hot summer months.

The Chief Medical Officer of the health care website WebMD, Dr. John White said, “The transmission rate of this virus is so favorable that it is still not compatible. It is still spreading.” Prevalence “often depends on mitigation factors.”

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“It remains a novel virus and despite the rapidly growing body of science about it, there are still things that are unknown. Whether our predictions are true or not should be seen in the future. But we think it Very likely, given that. We know so far, COVID-19 will eventually become seasonal like other coronaviruses, “Jarakit said in the study release.

Meanwhile, the study authors urged for “drastic control measures to limit virus spread” until herd immunity is achieved.

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