Warnings coronavirus could stay around ‘forever’ if people can get re-infected

Fears have been raised that Covid-19 could stay around “forever” if survivors can get re-infected.

And it could be “horrific” if they repeatedly contract coronavirus, a British scientist has claimed.

Professor Graeme Ackland, a computer simulation expert from Edinburgh University, said it is possible people can get the bug more than once.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It's not my expertise, as I understand it, it is a very small number of cases.

“If it is true that people are continuously being re-infected, then the situation is just horrific, because this thing is going to be with us essentially forever.”

He led a study which found tough lockdowns, especially ones which restrict young people, are unlikely to reduce fatalities in the long run, MailOnline reports.

And they actually could make the pandemic last for longer and cause hundreds of thousands of excess deaths over the next two years, it claims.

Researchers found the other option, shielding vulnerable and elderly people while the young go back to normal life, could reduce the impact.

A strategy like this would have to rely on herd immunity, when a population builds up resistance to the virus.

But it’s not been proved whether this can be achieved yet, Prof Ackland said.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, England's top medic, previously warned: "This disease is not going to be eradicated, it is not going to go away.

"So we have to accept that we are working with a disease with which we will be globally for the foreseeable future."

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It is still not known how much immunity Covid survivors have from the disease, as scientists have only been aware about it for less than 12 months.

Studies have found antibodies may decline three or four months after recovering, while other survivors may not develop them at all.

There have also been recent reports of Covid survivors being re-infected, including in the Netherlands and Belgium.

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