JAKARTA – The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, more than 185 million people in the world have been infected with COVID-19. Meanwhile, the world’s COVID-19 death toll has reached 4 million cases.
There is a strong hope that the COVID-19 vaccination will return to normal before the pandemic. However, scientists believe the Corona virus will not completely disappear. Quoted from BBC, the scientific journal Nature last January asked more than 100 immunologists, virologists and other health professionals around the world whether COVID-19 would go away.
Nearly 90 percent of them answered no. “There is evidence that the coronavirus is likely to become endemic and continue to circulate around the world,” the researchers explained.
So what would it look like if we had to live with COVID-19?
Experts explain the ‘eradication’ of infectious diseases is a rare phenomenon. In fact, until now the WHO has officially declared that only two infectious diseases have been successfully ‘erased’, namely the smallpox virus and rinderpest.
One of the strategies to eradicate smallpox at that time was through the development of a vaccine that broke the chain of transmission. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 vaccine developed so far has not been able to stop the possibility of exposure but can make symptoms milder when infected.
“The vaccines we have today, in some cases, don’t prevent infection. Vaccines only change the infection and make the disease less serious. People who are vaccinated can still transmit the virus to other people,” said David Heymann, professor of infectious diseases, epidemiology, at London School of London School of Health and Tropical Medicine.
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia (UK), shares this view. In fact, he believes vaccines will not stop people from transmitting COVID-19 in the future.
“Covid will never go away,” he explained.
So what will COVID-19 look like in the future?
Professor Heymann is one of many experts who believe that COVID-19 will become an endemic disease, meaning it will continue to circulate among the world’s population for many years to come.
“This is nothing new, the flu virus and the four Corona viruses that cause colds, for example, are rampant. WHO estimates that 290,000 to 650,000 people worldwide die each year from influenza-related causes,” he said.
“But these diseases have been brought under control, with the number of deaths calculated.”
There will be fewer severe COVID-19 cases
Although it is said that it will never go away, there will be fewer cases of severe COVID-19 and those requiring hospital treatment, according to scientists. This is because many residents have COVID-19 antibodies, either by vaccination or natural infection. “The problem is, we still don’t know if this virus will actually behave this way. It is “very unstable,” explains Prof Heymann.
“When this virus replicates in human cells, it mutates over time. And some of these mutations are of concern.” So how do you protect yourself from COVID-19? Do you need a booster vaccination? Read on the next page.
How to protect yourself from COVID-19
Experts also believe that the severity caused by the Corona virus will decrease if most of the population has received the COVID-19 vaccine, or because of Corona mutations. While the possibility of requiring an annual COVID-19 vaccine such as the flu shot, experts have not ruled out.
“Viruses can also decrease in virulence (severity), either because of mutations or because a large part of the population has been vaccinated,” explained Prof Heymann. (E-4)
News Source: Detik Health.