Helen, Hong Kong, Seth Kaplan discussed on Here & Now

Here & Now


But right to those numbers into the old ones. That is here now transportation analysts Seth Kaplan said thanks as always. Thanks Jeremy. On any given day, you're probably thinking to yourself or to others what will my life and the chances for immunity against Corona virus look like in the future well in her latest piece four scenarios on how we might develop immunity to covert nineteen stat reporter. Helen brands well spoke with experts on what they predict for the next few months and years, and she joins us now. Hi Helen Hi Tania. Well, you number of experts to map out scenarios of how we might come to coexist with this threat and you wanted to make a point that these are educated guesses but they are broken down in four parts sterilizing immunity, functional immunity waning immunity and lost immunity. Let's start with the first scenario and that's sterilizing immunity. What is it? So that's the kind of immunity. That is what we associated with diseases that are kind of one and done. You can't catch some second time. If, you have that kind of immunity. You can't be reinfected with something and so I wanted to find out for you know for starters whether that is a scenario we might be looking at in terms of covert nineteen. Unfortunately. Viruses that infect through mucous membranes of the nose and throat typically don't induce sterilizing immunity. You know when you think about all the different kinds of viruses that cause colds we or influenza for that matter I mean we can contract these things multiple times over our lifetime, and so the experts I spoke to felt that that really is not likely to be the scenario for most people although one of the one of the experts I spoke to sit, he thought that some people might have sterilizing immunity That's interesting that some people might actually have this. There's so much to learn about this and how our individual bodies and make-up's work when faced with the virus like this. But there's one observation about sterling immunity as well that if an infection doesn't trigger it, then a vaccine may not either. Can you explain that? Right. So you know they're multiple vaccines in development right now as you just said I mean the thinking is that if our immune systems can't learn to develop complete immunity to respiratory viruses, then probably vaccines can't deliver that either that doesn't mean the vaccines won't be useful. You know as long as they are safe and effective, they could be very useful. But what they might do is turn disease that can cause severe pneumonia or death into something that causes a cold. So you know. Even. After were vaccinated this potential that we could still contract the virus but that our immune systems would kick into gear. So quickly that the symptoms would be very mild or almost you know in perceivable and you know the question would be would we have? Virus in our upper airways and would we spread it to other people? That's that's still unclear. But you know the notion that you could have a vaccine that would protect you know one hundred percent of the time is unlikely in this circumstance. Okay. The next case scenario is functional immunity and this is a more realistic scenario what could that look like? So I think we're actually starting to see that now as you will have heard this week, there are reports of Out of Hong Kong a out of a couple of places in Europe where where research groups are saying we have definitively confirmed a second infection in somebody who was previously infected the Hong Kong cases a is a good example. there was a man who had cove nineteen in March. He had very mild disease only three days of symptoms and he wasn't he was hospitalized because they were hospitalizing p all patients there to observe them but he was not you know severely sick He recently traveled to Europe and on his way back to Hong Kong he was tested. He was t he tested positive. He had no symptoms and that's what people think. Functional immunity might be like that. You could contract the virus again but that your immune system would remember it really rapidly and produce enough of an immune response very quickly that you would either have almost no symptoms or you know very very mild symptons and that you might not even produce enough virus to transmit to other people so. Functional immunity actually does exist it. There's a possibility that as more of US acquire it either through infection or vaccination that there might not be as much cove in nineteen spreading because you know the fewer people contributing to the spread The third is waning immunity, which which is very similar. It's a variation of what you're just talking about a functional immunity. Can you explain the distinction between this possibility right? So the way that one was described to me is effectively similar. You know you you would have your response might Wayne you know they'd measure they've been measuring antibodies to try to see how long antibodies are lasting, and you might get into a scenario where there was a measurable decline of antibodies but that on re exposure again, your. Your your immune system would remember this threat and would kick into gear. Again, you might have some illness mild illness and you might be able to transmit, and that's really where the big differences there than there might be more transmission going on from these mild cases, but they would be mild. I. Mean One of the points that several people made to me is they don't think people will be as severely ill on a second time a second infection as they would be on a first said really. You know if these predictions are right, you know your first bout of of Covid nineteen might be your worst out of Color Nineteen The last scenario is lost immunity. How probable is this scenario that we lose all IMMUNITY OVER TIME? you know the good news was that none of the people I spoke to thought that that was likely at all That that doesn't happen they don't think and everything they've seen so far about the way the immune system responds to this This pathogen makes it look like lots of other pathogens that you know. We do develop immune responses to it and and they do not think that you know the most healthy people would you know run the risk of having sort of their? Blackboard wiped clean a at a point. I mean I conceivably somebody who becomes immuno-compromised might be an vivid difficult situation. But in general terms for the for most people isn't a scenario I? Think we would face. I mean over time then does this kind of speak to almost to the first one about sterilizing immunity? It's not the same, but our systems might know how to deal with it..

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