THE STUDY SUGGESTS THAT COVID19 MAY ONLY CAUSE COLD-LIKE COUGH AND SNIFFLES WITHIN THE NEXT DECADE
The research, published in the journal Viruses, predicted that the novel coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 could cause no more than common cold-like coughs and sniffles within the next decade
This likely prediction made by the research is based on statistical simulations that take into account lessons learnt from the current pandemic about how our bodies' immunity changes over time.
“In the beginning of the pandemic, no one had seen the virus before. Our immune system was not prepared. The models show that as more adults become partially immune, whether through prior infection or vaccination, severe infections all but disappear over the next decade”, the researchers said.
Changes in the disease may be caused by changes in our immune system rather than changes in the virus itself, according to the report. While the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the most well-known member of the family, other seasonal coronaviruses are still present in the human population and are less harmful. According to the researchers, some data suggests that one of these cold-causing relatives might have once been severe, causing the late-nineteenth-century "Russian flu" pandemic.
The parallels led the scientists to wonder whether the severity of SARS-CoV-2 could similarly lessen over time. They created mathematical models based on data on the immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Analyzing many examples and their variations reveals that over time, a growing proportion of the population may be predisposed to moderate illness.
The models, however, do not account for every possible effect on disease progression. Covid-19, for example, could worsen if new virus variants surpass partial immunity, according to the researchers. The team also stated that these forecasts would only be accurate if the models' key assumptions hold up.