Thoughts after two years of COVID-19
An editorial published in the journal Reviews in Medical Virology takes stock of the measures taken during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The work coordinated by Guido Antonelli of the Department of Molecular Medicine at Sapienza University of Rome, in collaboration with the University of Insubria and the Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, highlights the opportunity to use the experience gained in the last two years to build on the scientific knowledge acquired and at the same time to avoid the repetition of specific errors.
The authors analyse several aspects they consider controversial, such as the actual benefit of some containment strategies like a lockdown or the blocking of direct flights from countries where the new variants were first detected.
Besides, is it always possible to predict how new viruses and, consequently, modern pandemics will emerge? SARS-CoV-2, for instance, not only has a genome that is particularly prone to recombination but is also capable of infecting several animal species in addition to humans, which makes infection control and eventual eradication virtually impossible.
About the vaccines used, the authors acknowledge the great biomedical success they have represented in drastically reducing both hospitalisation and mortality rates but point out that they have not been sufficient to create the conditions for the so-called herd immunity in the population. Despite the unprecedented development of knowledge about the disease and the rate of scientific progress in pharmacology and technology, the risk of the virus spreading through the population, with the potential for the emergence of new variants, still lurks.
In conclusion, the editorial urges decision-makers not to give in to exhaustion and not to lower their guard, even in the final phase of the pandemic, hoping for a slow and gradual return to normality that takes into account the existence of special situations (e.g. frail patients) to be considered with due attention.
Reflections after 2 years of COVID-19 pandemic - Focosi D, Casadevall A, Maggi F, Antonelli G. - Rev Med Virol. 2022 Apr 5:e2351. doi: 10.1002/rmv.2351
Department of Molecular Medicine