Research Article

Immune life history, vaccination, and the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 over the next 5 years

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Science  21 Sep 2020:
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd7343


The future trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic hinges on the dynamics of adaptive immunity against SARS-CoV2; however, salient features of the immune response elicited by natural infection or vaccination are still uncertain. We use simple epidemiological models to explore estimates for the magnitude and timing of future Covid-19 cases given different protective efficacy and duration of the adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2, as well as its interaction with vaccines and nonpharmaceutical interventions. We find that variations in the immune response to primary SARS-CoV-2 infections and a potential vaccine can lead to dramatically different immune landscapes and burdens of critically severe cases, ranging from sustained epidemics to near elimination. Our findings illustrate likely complexities in future Covid-19 dynamics, and highlight the importance of immunological characterization beyond the measurement of active infections for adequately projecting the immune landscape generated by SARS-CoV-2 infections.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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