Published: Thu, January 14, 2021
Medical | By

Coronavirus may resemble common cold in future, scientists predict

Coronavirus may resemble common cold in future, scientists predict

The FDA has also warned that false negative results can occur with any molecular test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 if a mutation occurs in the part of the virus's genome assessed by that test.

The four common cold-causing coronaviruses have been circulating in humans for a long time and nearly everyone is infected at a young age - younger than measles before a vaccine was available.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus which is at the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic is only one of the many viruses of the coronavirus family. Then, years or decades later, those severe reactions will likely peter out due to increased immunity among adults, Jennie Lavine, a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University, who led the study, told the Times. They found that saliva sampling to be a similarly sensitive and less costly alternative that could replace nasopharyngeal swabs for collection of clinical samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Using both mouse and human brain tissue, researchers have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect the central nervous system (CNS) and have observed some of the virus's effects on brain cells. How long does immunity that prevents pathology last, and how long does immunity that prevents transmission last?

The model suggests that if the vaccines induce short-lived protection against becoming reinfected but reduce the severity of the disease, as is the case with other endemic coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 may become endemic more quickly.

"Overall, we're asking: how does SARS-CoV-2 compare to other viruses such as seasonal influenza or respiratory syncytial virus", she says.

The scientists said that nearly everyone catches one of the endemic cold coronaviruses during childhood, often before the age of 5, which gives partial immunity to adults who become reinfected later in life. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can mutate over time, like all viruses, resulting in genetic variation in the population of circulating viral strains, as seen with the B.1.1.7 variant.

"We are in uncharted territory, but a key take-home message from the study is that immunological indicators suggest that fatality rates and the critical need for broad-scale vaccination may wane in the near term", said Ottar Bjornstad, a professor and epidimiologist at Penn State.

Co-senior author Kaya Bilguvar, an associate professor at Yale School of Medicine, said: "Our study clearly demonstrates that neurons can become a target of SARS-CoV-2 infection, with devastating consequences of localised ischaemia in the brain and cell death". They said in their study that the virus was detected in the cortical neurons of one of these patients.

The now available data suggests that reinfection rarely occurs within 90 days of the first (initial) infection. There are exceptions on the individual level, with some experiencing rare complications such as MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children).

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