Unexpected benefit of COVID-19 lockdowns on the environment and health
They used this model to investigate for what duration social distancing measures need to stay in place to maintain control of SARS-CoV-2, projecting the potential dynamics of COVID-19 over the next 5 years. Based on their simulations, they say the key factor modulating virus incidence in coming years is the rate at which virus immunity wanes - which is yet to be determined. They also report that under all scenarios simulated, including one-time and intermittent social distancing, infections resurge when the simulated social distancing measures are lifted. When social distancing is relaxed when virus transmissibility is heightened in the fall, an intense winter outbreak may occur, overlapping with flu season and exceeding capacity of hospitals. Another modeled scenario shows a resurgence in SARS-CoV-2 could occur as far in the future as 2025. New therapeutics could alleviate the need for stringent social distancing but in the absence of these, surveillance and intermittent distancing may need to be maintained into 2022, write Kissler and colleagues. This would give hospitals time to increase critical care capacity while allowing population immunity to accumulate. The authors conclude the study by addressing its limitations. "Our goal in modeling such policies is not to endorse them but to identify likely trajectories of the epidemic under alternative approaches," they write. Source: Journal reference:
Kissler, S.M., et al. (2020) Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period. Science . doi.org/10.1126/science.abb5793 .
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