Business

Covid will never become endemic, scientist warns

Yaruk Chayrak | Istock | Getty Images

Covid-19 will never become endemic and will always behave like an epidemic virus, a biosecurity expert has warned.

Rayna McIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, told CNBC that while endemic diseases can occur in very high numbers, the number of cases is not changing as fast as with the coronavirus.

“If case numbers change [with an endemic disease]it’s slow, usually over years, she said via email. “On the other hand, epidemic diseases are growing rapidly over periods ranging from a few days to weeks.”

Scientists use a mathematical equation called R-zero (or R0) to estimate how fast a disease is spreading. R0 indicates how many people will become infected from an infected person, according to experts at Imperial College London. omicron score can be higher than 3.

If the disease’s R0 is greater than 1, the growth is exponential, McIntyre said, meaning the virus is becoming more prevalent and the conditions for an epidemic are present.

“The public health goal is to keep the effective R, which is the R0 modified by interventions like vaccines, masks or other measures, below 1,” she told CNBC. “But if the R0 is above 1, we usually see recurring epidemic waves of epidemic infections transmitted through the respiratory tract.”

McIntyre noted that this is a pattern that has been observed for centuries in smallpox and is still seen in measles and influenza. She added that this is also a pattern unfolding with Covid, for which we have seen four major waves over the past two years.

“Covid will not magically turn into an endemic infection like malaria where levels remain constant for a long time,” she said. “This will continue to generate epidemic waves driven by weakened vaccine immunity, new options that evade vaccine protection, unvaccinated pockets, births and migration.”

“That’s why we need an ongoing vaccine plus strategy and ventilation to keep R below 1 so we can live with the virus without major shocks to society,” McIntyre said, adding that “there will be more options.” .”

The WHO warned last week that the next variant of Covid will be even more contagious than omicron.

Global Biosecurity, a Twitter account representing UNSW’s epidemic, pandemic and epidemiology research teams, argued last year that Covid will continue to “demonstrate an increase and decrease in epidemic diseases.”

“[Covid] will never be endemic,” the organization said. “This is an epidemic disease and will always be so. This means that it will find unvaccinated or under-vaccinated people and spread quickly in these groups.”

Pandemic, epidemic or endemic?

For Covid to become endemic, enough people must be immune to Covid for it to become endemic. according to the American Lung Associationemphasizing the importance of vaccination for the transition of the virus from pandemic status.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week that there is a chance that Covid could be ended as a global health emergency this year if the right course of action is chosen, which includes addressing vaccine and health inequities.

His comments come a week after another senior WHO official warned that “we will never be done with the virus” and that “endemic doesn’t mean good, it just means ‘here forever’.”


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button