Left Menu
Development News Edition

COVID-19 likely to become a seasonal disease, say scientists

COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, will likely become seasonal in countries with temperate climates, but only when herd immunity is attained, suggests a new review published in Frontiers in Public Health.

ANI | Washington DC | Updated: 19-09-2020 11:07 IST | Created: 19-09-2020 11:07 IST
COVID-19 likely to become a seasonal disease, say scientists
Representative image. Image Credit: ANI

COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, will likely become seasonal in countries with temperate climates, but only when herd immunity is attained, suggests a new review published in Frontiers in Public Health. Until that time, COVID-19 will continue to circulate across the seasons. These conclusions highlight the absolute importance of public health measures needed just now to control the virus.

"COVID-19 is here to stay and it will continue to cause outbreaks year-round until herd immunity is achieved. Therefore, the public will need to learn to live with it and continue practicing the best prevention measures, including wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and avoidance of gatherings," said senior author of the study Dr. Hassan Zaraket, of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. Collaborating author Dr. Hadi Yassine, of Qatar University in Doha, affirms and states that there could be multiple waves of COVID-19 before herd immunity is achieved.

We know that many respiratory viruses follow seasonal patterns, especially in temperate regions. For instance, influenza and several types of coronaviruses that cause common cold are known to peak in winter in temperate regions but circulate year-round in tropical regions. The authors reviewed these seasonal viruses, examining the viral and host factors that control their seasonality as well as the latest knowledge on the stability and transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers explain that virus survival in the air and on surfaces, people's susceptibility to infections, and human behaviors, such as indoor crowding, differ across the seasons due to changes in temperature and humidity. These factors influence transmission of respiratory viruses at different times of the year. However, in comparison to other respiratory viruses such as the flu, COVID-19 has a higher rate of transmission (R0), at least partly due to circulation in a largely immunologically naive population.

This means that unlike the flu and other respiratory viruses, the factors governing seasonality of viruses cannot yet halt the spread of COVID-19 in the summer months. But, once herd immunity is attained through natural infections and vaccinations, the R0 should drop substantially, making the virus more susceptible to seasonal factors. Such seasonality has been reported for other coronaviruses, including those that emerged more recently such as NL63 and HKU1, which follow the same circulation pattern like influenza.

"This remains a novel virus and despite the fast-growing body of science about it there are still things that are unknown. Whether our predictions hold true or not remains to be seen in the future. But we think it's highly likely, given what we know so far, COVID-19 will eventually become seasonal, like other coronaviruses," adds Zaraket. "The highest global COVID-19 infection rate per capita was recorded in the Gulf states, regardless of the hot summer season. Although this is majorly attributed to the rapid virus spread in closed communities, it affirms the need for rigorous control measures to limit virus spread, until herd immunity is achieved," Dr. Yassine said. (ANI)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Guinea’s elections hearken back to the autocracy and violence of its past

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Fashion of the '70s signifies freedom: Masaba Gupta on her LFW collection

Fashion designer Masaba Gupta believes the time period of the 1970s continues to have an impact on pop culture as the era was devoid of any creative influences with everyone expressing themselves freely. The couturier, who owns the label Ho...

Major fire erupts in northern French port Le Havre - police

A major fire broke out on Saturday in an abandoned building in the northern French port city of Le Havre, sending huge clouds of black smoke into the air, police and local media sites said.In a statement on Twitter, police said houses in th...

Soccer-Santini strikes to take Jiangsu through to CSL semi-finals

Jiangsu Suning will face former champions Shanghai SIPG in the semi-finals of the Chinese Super League playoffs next week after Cosmin Olaroius side handed 10-man Chongqing Lifan a 1-0 defeat on Saturday evening.Ivan Santinis goal in the ni...

Surveillance drone shot down by Army along LoC in north Kashmir

A surveillance drone of Chinese make was on Saturday shot down by Army troops shortly after it crossed into this side of the Line of Control LoC in Jammu and Kashmirs Kupwara district, officials saidThe DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone, fitted with ca...

Give Feedback