We are almost two weeks after the start of the confinement period, yet the number of people infected with coronavirus continues to increase, as well as the number of deaths linked to this disease. According to the interactive map designed by Johns Hopkins University, more than 700,000 people are infected worldwide, including more than 40,000 in France. A virus of this magnitude in fact generates many questions among the population, which scientists, like Anthony Fauci, are trying to answer.
A CORONAVIRUS VACCINE?
One of the main questions people are currently asking about the coronavirus is its potential cure with a vaccine or a drug. Recently, doctors administered hydroxychloroquine (usually used for malaria) to patients with Covid-19 who were cured. However, the effectiveness of this drug has not been validated by scientists. Researchers are therefore focusing on antivirals such as lopinavir (used against HIV) or remdesivir (used against Ebola).
But the question of the vaccine also arises. Anthony Fauci, immunologist and director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in the United States, spoke on March 25 at the White House and thinks that ” a year to a year and a half before distributing an effective and safe vaccine “. To date, clinical trials for vaccines are being carried out in China and the United States. But they will not be available on the market until 2021.
CORONAVIRUS, MORE RESISTANT TO HEAT?
Many questions also arise regarding the potential resistance of the virus to heat. Indeed, Anthony Fauci would have observed that the coronavirus developed better when it was cold than when it was hot and humid, which seems to be corroborated by the fact that countries of the southern hemisphere would have been less affected than countries of the northern hemisphere. In fact, the bacteria in the saliva droplets coming from sick people would live longer in the open air when it is cold. This is in addition to the fact that in winter, the immune system is weakened. Anthony Fauci’s comments seem to echo a study by Beihang University in China, published on March 03, 2020 on SSRN.
The contagiousness of the coronavirus could therefore be lessened with the return of the sun and warmer temperatures. That said, be careful: just because the virus is less infectious and less infectious in hot countries does not mean that it does not exist. More and more cases are observed in Africa or South America. These differences between the so-called “cold” countries and the so-called “hot” countries mean that researchers believe that the Covid-19 could manifest itself again according to seasonal cycles. This is why it is all the more urgent to find a vaccine, or an effective drug. ” If they [les pays de l’hémisphère sud] are experiencing a major epidemic, it will be essential for us to be ready to face a second cycle “, Warns the expert. “It makes it even more important to develop a vaccine, to test it quickly and to make it ready and available for this next cycle. “
THE PRINCIPLE OF “COLLECTIVE IMMUNITY”
Finally, one of the questions many people ask is about the use of so-called “collective immunity”. Collective immunity can be defined as the principle that the more people become infected with a disease, the more antibodies they develop against the virus, and the less the epidemic spreads among the population. With collective immunity, the virus could become seasonal, but more people would be protected from it.
However, it seems very risky to trust this principle, since many vulnerable people would die from it. In addition, many gray areas remain regarding the coronavirus. This principle is obviously not validated by the scientific community. This “solution” was proposed as a response to the epidemic by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the irony lies in the fact that he was recently diagnosed with coronavirus.