As the pandemic progresses, the idea that the world will completely stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus and return to life as it was before the pandemic seems more and more like a distant dream.
With the unequal introduction of vaccines, the emergence of a new, more dangerous strain of the virus and the “normal” that is still raging around the world, the idea that one day we will get rid of COVID-19 seems like a wishful thinking, even nonsense.
But a new analysis by New Zealand scientists suggests that we should not give up hope. In a meta-analysis of previous studies and a comparison of measles and polio, a team of scientists suggest that eradication may still be feasible, although it may not be easy.
Is COVID-19 also a potential disease that can be eradicated? Or is it an inevitable endemic phenomenon in the world? “
“Although our analysis is a preliminary effort with a variety of subjective components, the eradication of COVID-19 seems to be within the bounds of what is possible, especially in terms of technical feasibility,” the scientists said.
Although the virus wants to remain here on a global scale, on a small scale and in small communities, some places have managed to eradicate it – even without vaccination.
Large nations such as China, Hong Kong and smaller countries such as Iceland and New Zealand have been able to temporarily remove the virus before the vaccine appeared, using border controls, wearing masks, physical distance, testing and tracking contacts.
Let us not forget that we have already managed to completely eradicate at least one human disease – measles. People lived with measles for 3,000 years before a massive global vaccine campaign wiped them out in the 1970s.
Polio is another success story of vaccination and (almost) eradication. Two of the three poliovirus serotypes have been eradicated globally, and wild poliovirus cases have dropped by 99 percent from 1988 to 2018.
Scientists explain that there are definitely technical challenges to eradicating COVID-19 that have not had as much of an impact on polio and measles. For example, hesitation about vaccination and the rapid evolution of virus variants that can transcend global vaccine programs.
There is also a high cost of implementing vaccination programs and upgrading health systems, plus wild (or domestic) animals that serve as a reservoir into which the virus can further mutate.
However, there are attempts to eradicate COVID-19 and we even have some positive results, we can call them victories, even with the fact that we do not succeed to the end.
“Upgrading health systems to facilitate the eradication of COVID-19 can also be of great help in controlling other diseases (and even eradicating measles),” the scientists said.