PerspectiveCoronavirus

Remembering seasonal coronaviruses

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Science  11 Dec 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6522, pp. 1272-1273
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf4860

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  • RE: Seasonal Flu Versus Seasonal COVID-19

    Seasonal flu patterns have been monitored for over sixty years across different continents since the first safe and effective monovalent flu vaccine was invented in 1938.

    Is it possible that repeated exposure to seasonal flu will enable the production of cross-reactive antibodies and humoral immunity to mitigate infection from medium and severe SARS-CoV-2 through preexisting immunity according to age cohorts?

    Is COVID-19 increasingly likely to remain in the population forever, much like the seasonal flu, but without any seasonal warnings, both before and after reportedly safe, effective, durable, affordable, and wide ranging vaccines are made available, with subsequent analysis of the antibody specificity induced by vaccination?

    A minimum of one year is essential to be able to detect a seasonal pattern in any set of data, so it is still too early to infer any seasonal patterns or cross-reactive humoral immunity of the seasonal flu with COVID-19, and whether such interactions are likely to mitigate and protect, or exacerbate and accentuate, the effects of COVID-19, due to a lack of data availability and frequency.  

    COVID-19 cases have been monitored for less than one year, or four seasons, though seasonal patterns will be observed within the next year or two, with higher infection rates expected during the colder months.  

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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