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Coronavirus could be with us 'forever': Scientist warns of 'horrific' situation if survivors can get re-infected — even though experts believe immunity will make the disease milder in future


  • Professor Graeme Ackland said if people get re-infected it could be 'horrific'
  • It's unclear if immunity lasts because the virus has only been around this year
  • Chief scientific advisors to the Government have previously warned Covid-19 will be around forever because it may act like other seasonal viruses 
  • Prof Ackland was part of the Edinburgh University study published Wednesday
  • It examined various lockdown scenarios and found they could prolong the crisis

Coronavirus could be with us 'forever' if people can get re-infected, a British scientist has warned.

Professor Graeme Ackland, an academic at Edinburgh University, warned it could be 'horrific' if survivors aren't protected against the disease in the future. 

The truth on Covid-19 immunity remains a mystery because the pathogen, known as SARS-CoV-2, has only been known to science for less than a year. 

But leading experts believe the illness would be milder if a survivors gets reinfected because they would likely have some level of protection. Therefore, hospitalisations and deaths would not reach catastrophic levels, in theory.

Top scientists, including advisors to the Government, have previously said the virus will be in circulation for decades, like other similar coronavirus-like infections and seasonal illnesses. 

Scientists do not yet know how long a person is immune to the coronavirus for, with several studies showing antibodies — proteins made by the immune system to fight off a disease in future — wane after just a few months. 

If immunity is short-lived, it dashes hope of herd immunity building in the population — a natural way of wiping the virus out. But it doesn't rule out that people may be better protected if they get re-infected, suffering a much milder form of the illness.

But if survivors aren't protected from a severe bout of Covid a second time around, it suggests lockdowns will be necessary to save as many lives as possible until experts find a vaccine. 

It comes as a study, which Professor Ackland was the lead author of, found that strict lockdowns are unlikely to cut deaths in the long run and may even increase them.

Strict lockdowns – particularly those curbing the activities of the young — could prolong the pandemic and cause hundreds of thousands of excess deaths over the next two years. 

The alternative — shielding only the elderly and vulnerable and letting young people return to normality — may reduce the impact. But this strategy would rely on herd immunity, which has not been proven to be achievable, Professor Ackland admitted. 

Ministers were last night under intense pressure to rethink the battle against the disease after the study cast fresh doubt over Covid restrictions.

The study, part-funded by an arm of government, came as a growing number of top scientists signed a declaration calling for life to be allowed to return to normal for all but the elderly and vulnerable. 

By this morning, more than 12,000 doctors and medical experts had endorsed the ‘Great Barrington Declaration’ that backs herd immunity.


Read More Here: Daily Mail
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