The whole world has been waiting for a vaccine against COVID-19 since March, when the pandemic was declared. We are currently in advanced stages of this development, but there is still a lot to be done by scientists and governments. But in a recent study conducted at Princeton University in the United States, researchers suggest that even without medical immunization, treatment and vaccine, what is being done to prevent contamination will be essential for the future, and that this will shape the spread scenario in the coming years.
The study’s co-author, Caroline Wagner, assistant professor of bioengineering at McGill University in Canada, says it remains unclear what the strength or duration of natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2 will be, or a vaccine. . “For example, if a reinfection is possible, what did a person’s immune response to the previous infection do? Is that immune response able to prevent you from transmitting the infection to others? All of this will impact the dynamics of future outbreaks,” he says. .
The research, with the help of a model that projects the incidence of future cases of the disease, determined that the initial peak of the pandemic was completely independent of immunity, since most people were susceptible to contamination. However, with the growth of virus infections, some epidemic patterns have emerged that will be identified in the future.
“If immune responses are only weak or temporarily protective against reinfection, for example, then larger and more frequent outbreaks can be expected in the medium term,” comments Andrea Graham, co-author of the study. In addition, the nature of the immune response can affect clinical outcomes and cases requiring hospitalization, and it is necessary to know how to differentiate between primary and future infections.
Based on several scenarios, the study found that the arrival of the vaccine can induce a high immune response, consequently reducing the number of cases in the future. And the results are the same, even though the vaccine offers only partial protection against secondary transmission. The model also showed that not even cases of events that can cause high propagation interfere with the projections that are to come.
The researchers also explored the future effects on a particular audience that may refuse to be vaccinated or treated. Simon Levin, one of the study’s co-authors, says that if the refusal is high and corresponds to more risky behaviors, such as the lack of wearing masks, the vaccination rate should be even higher to achieve collective immunity.
The model still needs to be fed with more information, throughout the development and release of the vaccine, and that the projections are not simple to make since the immune response against the coronavirus is still not very well understood.
Fonte: Princeton University
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