The assessment that the coronavirus could return next winter makes average person frustrated and full of fear of infection and its overall consequences. Is it possible that, according to some pessimists, we will have to lock ourselves in houses again this fall?
The answer to this question will be given to us by those who, this time, will not be lucky enough to avoid the virus, but will be lucky enough to get it, because from them, more precisely from their blood, we will find out whether the human body is capable of developing immunity to the causative agent of Covid- 19. But how long does that immunity last?
What experts predict about Coronavirus?
According to a well-known American doctor and Yale professor, Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, according to the experience of some past pandemics, we could conclude that in the next two or three years, as much as 40 percent of humanity will be exposed to the coronavirus. Not everyone will get sick, and from those who will, a large part will justify themselves and gain immunity.
How long this immunity will last is still difficult to say, but according to the experience we have with chicken-pox and polio, there is a chance that it will be permanent. However, judging other viral diseases will only take some time.
At the moment, no one is guessing with such crucial questions, but for more accurate answers we will have to wait for more precise tests on the ‘crown’.
US scientists believe ‘primitive’ method is key to treating corona: testing of serum from recovered patients begins.
The importance of seroconversion
Serological tests, for which samples are drawn from the blood, could be far more useful than the existing ones, emphasizes this expert (and not the only one), because not only can they prove that the disease has occurred within three days of the onset of symptoms, but rather than they only detect whether the virus has entered the body, determine the existence of an immune response to the causative agent of Covid-19.
The development of such tests should be a ‘national and international priority’, the expert believes, and many of his colleagues who have gone to work obviously think so. One of the conclusions they made is one that Christakis thinks is particularly interesting: we have not encountered this virus so far, so we do not have natural immunity to it and that is why this pandemic that has hit us so horribly.
As we await the development of better tests, which could answer the question of how long immunity will last, we can be comforted by the fact that we still know something, which is exactly what is happening in the body of an infected person from the point of view of immunity within the first 40 days of its occurrence symptoms.
In short, it takes between 11 and 14 days for the infected to have seroconversion, that is, to begin producing antibodies to fight the virus. Seven days ago, these antibodies were very few antibodies from the onset of symptoms, and then their numbers increased rapidly. At the same time, the reverse is happening with the RNA virus, which means that ‘ours’ are winning and the body is on the path to recovery.
Knowledge of this mechanism allows us to compare it with the same response of an organism infected with other types of coronaviruses with which we have more experience, and based on these comparisons we can answer the question about the duration of immunity to Covid-19.
History of coronavirus
Hope comes from data from 1990, when a study was conducted on 15 volunteers who were injected with one type of coronavirus into the nose. Their immunity peaked within 15 days of the infection, and lasted about a year. Believe it or not, nine of those respondents returned for another round of the virus. Although the number of antibodies in the body had already dropped significantly by that time, only six were infected and none of them developed symptoms.
There is one bad news with this good news: the fact that their antibodies have dropped is a disappointment for all those who once thought of having a vaccine against the corona and staying calm for the rest of their lives.
Another important reason for developing serological tests is Dr. Christakis. If they are widely used, as this expert expertly advocates, we will be able to know who got over Covid-19 so that they are no longer at risk of infection, at least for the duration of this pandemic.
In order to detect those who have not developed symptoms in this way, it will no longer be necessary for people with immunity to coronavirus to sit in their homes. Such people could return to their jobs, which is especially important in the case of doctors and medical staff, but there is no doubt that the economy would be less affected in this way.
As the number of people with immunity grows, not only will life return to normal, it will slow down the rate of spread of the virus, eventually stopping it completely. Needless to say, with such tests we could finally know the true number of those infected, as they would detect those who show no symptoms.
Dr. Christakis believes all of this would pave the way for the use of serum from those who have had Covid-19 to treat the infected, but notes that many more questions remain to be addressed.
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus disease?
The common symptoms are fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases infection can cause pneumonia, high acute respiratory syndrome, resulting in death. The cycle within which the coronavirus symptoms would appear is 2-14 days.