Dr. Anthony Fauci said it in Davos: COVID can become endemic if another variant does not arise that eludes the immune response to the previous variant. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has pointed to 2024 as a probable date for this to happen. But in general, doctors in different countries of the world have pointed out that COVID-19 will become endemic at some point. And what will life be like then?
The Omicron variant has a high level of contagiousness capable of infect vaccinated and unvaccinated people, which has exposed the virus to a large number of the world’s population that has developed antibodies, T cells and B cells, explained Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, News 19.
“Meaning an endemic phase of a viral infection is that it does not cause the terrible hospitalizations of the pandemic phase, but we will have enough immunity of a population so that it remains at low levels, “he added.
However, according to Dr. Catherine Smallwood, senior emergency officer and COVID-19 incident manager of the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no need to ring the bells on the fly, because “we are still far” from achieving endemicity.
How will endemic COVID change our lives?
Dr. Gandhi explained that, according to her perspective, when COVID-19 becomes an endemic infection “we probably won’t be wearing masks, distancing, contact tracing, or asymptomatic testing”. The medical and social management of the disease will then resemble the way we manage influenza, that is, with vaccinations, treatment and the recommendation to use masks for vulnerable people, especially in closed environments.
Pfizer specialists have pointed out that achieving the endemic level depends on how COVID-19 evolves and how effectively vaccines are applied in most of the world. “It looks like over the next year or two, some regions will transition to an endemic model, while other regions will continue in pandemic mode”, advanced Mikael Dolsten, scientific director of Pfizer. “The emergence of new variants could also affect how the pandemic continues to unfold,” he added.
It is still early to know if Ómicron may be the beginning of the endemic COVID. “It is an open question whether or not Ómicron will be the live virus vaccine that everyone is waiting for, because there is great variability with new emerging variants”, said Dr. Fauci during his participation in the Davos Economic Forum. So the coin is still up in the air.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.