Moderna CEO: We are likely to coexist with COVID-19 “forever”
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Researchers say that COVID-19 infection will mainly occur in childhood, which may lead to long-term protection from severe cases in adulthood , Even if re-infection is still possible. The only caveat is that the initial childhood version of the disease must be mild.
We heard this prediction from WHO researchers and Dr. Anthony Fauci early in the pandemic: The new coronavirus cannot be eradicated, no matter how effective the vaccine is. Instead, we will have to learn to coexist with this disease as it transitions from the pandemic to endemic stage. The same thing happens with flu and other infectious diseases, which can circulate and cause disease outbreaks. But vaccines and improved therapies have greatly reduced the mortality rate of these diseases.
Moderna CEO Stephan Bancel repeated the same prediction earlier this week that he believes the world will have to “forever” coexist with COVID-19. A study suggests that the new coronavirus may one day be as harmless as some of its common colds.
“SARS-CoV-2 will not disappear,” Bancel said at the JPMorgan Chase Healthcare Conference on Wednesday. “We believe that we will always coexist with this virus.” He added.
Moderna’s new crown vaccine has become one of the leading vaccine candidates that successfully passed Phase 3 clinical trials. The drug is highly effective, just like the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and has received emergency use authorization from the United States and the European Union. Moderna has predicted that the drug can provide immunity for at least one year, or even longer. Moderna will continue to study the drug to develop plans for the next few rounds of vaccination.
In addition, researchers from Emory University and Pennsylvania State University have written a research report explaining how the severity of COVID-19 will change in a few years. They predict that the virus will eventually become no more virulent than the common cold, and people are likely to contract the disease in childhood.
“Our analysis of immunological and epidemiological data of endemic human coronaviruses (HCoVs) shows that blocking infection will quickly weaken immunity, but reducing immunity to disease is a long-term existence ,” the researcher wrote. “Our model, which combines these components of immunity, reproduces both the current severity of (SARS-CoV-2) and the benign nature of HCoVs, indicating that once it reaches the epidemic stage and is mainly exposed to childhood, ( SARS-CoV-2) may not be more toxic than the common cold.”
The researchers explained that it all depends on the nature of COVID-19 in childhood. The less severe the illness in childhood, the easier it is to deal with as an adult.
“The changes in the infection mortality rate (IFR) predicted by this model over time have an impact on the vaccination strategy for current and future emerging HCoVs,” the researchers wrote. “Maintaining social distancing and effective vaccines are essential for the control during the initial period of the epidemic and the transition period from the beginning of the epidemic, but once we enter the endemic stage, large-scale vaccination may no longer be necessary.”</ p>
“Whether it is necessary to continue vaccination will depend on the age dependence of IFR. If the primary infection of the child is mild. As the primary case resolves to mild runny nose in the child, it may not be necessary to continue vaccination On the other hand, if the child’s primary infection is very serious (such as MERS), then it is necessary to continue to vaccinate the child.”
However, these studies cannot predict when COVID-19 will emerge from the pandemic. Turn into endemic disease. Vaccines such as Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna that are already in use, as well as other vaccine candidates that are still being tested, can help countries achieve herd immunity. Experts such as Dr. Fauci predict that as long as a large number of people are immunized, countries that can get the vaccine may end the COVID-19 outbreak in the fall or the end of 2021. At present, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in some countries is increasing sharply, and the statistics of infection and mortality in the United States are still in a leading position.