Researchers, according to a recent study, bring into light a potential scenario in which immunity to coronavirus either through infection or a vaccine, diminishes within a year, similar to that seen for the endemic beta coronavirus that causes mild respiratory illness. If immunity to SARS-CoV-2 was longer, through protection provided by an immune response to infection with other endemic coronaviruses, humans might experience what would initially appear to be an elimination of COVID-19 followed by resurgence after a few years. Other contributing factors include the availability and effectiveness of a vaccine and the innate seasonality of the virus.
Among the infected, serological studies indicate that most infections, regardless of severity, induce the development of some SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. Yet it remains unclear whether those antibodies are themselves sufficient to provide long-term immunity to prevent reinfection. Insufficient immune response, for many viruses, waning immunity, or mutations that allow it to escape immune detection can undermine or circumvent immunity and allow subsequent reinfection. In the case of co-infection, the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 may be affected by whether or not someone is currently or was recently infected with another virus.
Various studies before the pandemic, state that infection with one virus can provide short-term protection against a second infection. Other studies confirm that simultaneous respiratory virus infections are not associated with increased disease severity. While some SARS-CoV-2 co-infections have been documented, including co-infections with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, there is insufficient data to conclude. Evidence suggests COVID-19 could be more transferable during winter. All endemic coronaviruses including OC43, HKU1, NL63, 229E exhibit seasonality in temperate regions similar to influenza. Similarly, environmental conditions may also modulate SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility.
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