Hard to believe – but an encouraging vision: The virus, which has already claimed the lives of more than two million people today, will be nothing more than a harmless childhood illness in the future. This is predicted by infection expert Jennie Lavine from Emory University in Atlanta (USA).
In his current study published in the journal “Science”, the US scientist describes how the dangerous Sars-CoV-2 virus can weaken into a harmless endemic pathogen.
Asymptomatic adults will infect children
And it should be like this: Most people around the world have antibodies through mass vaccines and early corona infections. Lavine says that although the effectiveness of these antibodies will likely decline after a year, there remains a lifelong partial immunity. This ensures that future infections are very mild or even asymptomatic.
Only in young children up to five years of age this immunity is not yet present. It is then the adults who infect young children. But within a few years, Covid-19 will not cause more than a runny nose for them, even with the initial infection. The current epidemic showed this.
An important symptom: Do I have a corona or just a cold?(01:03)
Human coronaviruses are already responsible for all three colds today
Jennie Lavine and her colleagues compared Covid-19 with four endemic human coronaviruses. These so-called HCoV viruses have been circulating in the population for years and are likely responsible for all three common colds. It mainly affects children. These then develop partial immunity. The course of the disease is usually mild, although they may become infected repeatedly later in their lives. Antibodies in many people’s blood show just how common these human coronaviruses are.
Jennie Lavine’s US research team also compares seasonal flu. Covid-19 was only so devastatingly angry that it affected many people for the first time. Similar to other human coronviruses, initial infections with Covid-19 will only occur rarely in the future. Scientists therefore assume that the death rate will one day be below even seasonal flu, that is, below 0.1 percent.