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Researchers predict that COVID-19 will become a seasonal virus – but not yet



SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, coronavirus

A stained scanning electron micrograph of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Credit: NIAID

Thanks to the sniffing noses, coughs and colds that accompany the colder months of the year, we are all too familiar with seasonal patterns for some respiratory viruses. A new review published in Boundaries in public health suggests that COVID-1

9, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is likely to follow suit and become seasonal in countries with temperate climates, but only when herd immunity is obtained. Until then, COVID-19 will continue to circulate across the seasons. These conclusions highlight the absolute importance of public health measures currently needed to control the virus.

Senior author of the study Dr. Hassan Zaraket of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon warns that “COVID-19 is here to stay and it will continue to cause outbreaks year-round until herd immunity is achieved. Therefore, the public will need to learn to live with it and continue to practice the best prevention measures, including the use of masks, physical distance, hand hygiene and the avoidance of gatherings. “

The collaborative author Dr. Hadi Yassine of Qatar University in Doha confirms and declares that there may be more waves of COVID-19 before crew immunity is achieved.

We know that many respiratory viruses follow seasonal patterns, especially in temperate areas. For example, it is known that influenza and several types of coronavirus that cause colds peak in winter in temperate regions but circulate year-round in tropical regions. The authors reviewed these seasonal viruses and examined the viral and host factors that control their seasonality, as well as the latest knowledge on the stability and transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers explain that virus survival in the air and on surfaces, people’s susceptibility to infections and human behavior, such as indoor congestion, differ over the seasons due to changes in temperature and humidity. These factors affect the transmission of respiratory viruses at different times of the year.

However, compared to other respiratory viruses, such as influenza, COVID-19 has a higher transmission rate (R0), at least in part due to circulation in a largely immunologically naive population.

This means that unlike influenza and other respiratory viruses, the factors that control the virus season may not yet stop the spread of COVID-19 during the summer months. However, when a flock immunity is obtained through natural infections and vaccinations, R0 must decrease significantly, making the virus more susceptible to seasonal factors.

Such seasonality has been reported for other coronaviruses, including those that have recently emerged, such as NL63 and HKU1, which follow the same circulation pattern as influenza.

“This remains an unprecedented virus, and despite the rapidly growing knowledge about it, there are still things that are unknown. Whether our predictions hold or not remains to be seen in the future. But we think it is very likely given From what we know so far, COVID-19 will eventually be seasonal, just like other coronaviruses, ”adds Zaraket.

Dr. Yassine says that “the highest global COVID-19 infection rate per capita was recorded in the Gulf states, regardless of the hot summer season. Although this is mainly attributed to the rapid virus spread in closed communities, it confirms the need for strict control measures to limit virus spread until flock immunity has been obtained “.


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More information:
Boundaries in public health, DOI: 10.3389 / fpubh.2020.567184, www.frontiersin.org/articles/1… 2020.567184 / abstract

Citation: Researchers predict that COVID-19 will be a seasonal virus – but not yet (2020, September 15) retrieved September 15, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-scientists-covid-seasonal-virusbut .html

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