Can the coronavirus be eradicated – and thus end the global pandemic? Researchers have dealt with this question. The result is amazing.
Wellington / New Zealand – When does the corona pandemic end? That is a question that worries many around the world. Researchers from the University of Otago (New Zealand) have now investigated whether and how the coronavirus can be eradicated.
Theoretically, the global eradication of Covid-19 would be possible, as in the study in the specialist magazine BMJ Global Health too is reading. According to the researchers, eradicating Covid-19 would be even easier than eradicating polio, but more difficult than eradicating smallpox. Success depends on various factors – technical, socio-political and economic.
Eradicate Covid-19 – Researchers answer this important question
“The analysis shows that the eradication of Covid-19 is moving into the realm of what is technically feasible,” said Professor Nick Wilson from the University of Otago and author of the study in a press release. In his opinion, the combination of vaccination programs, public health actions and the global interest in fighting the disease all help make it possible for it to be eradicated.
The scientists used a complex mathematical model to evaluate the eradication of three diseases – Covid-19, polio (polio) and smallpox. 17 variables – such as the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, the possibility of lifelong immunity, and public health measures and infection control, among others – were taken into account in the model.
Smallpox, which was declared eradicated in 1980, received the highest average rating for the feasibility of eradication, according to the scientists. On a three-point scale with the 17 variables, smallpox was rated with an average of 2.7. In comparison, Covid-19 had an average grade of 1.6 and polio an average grade of 1.5.
- Smallpox (eradicated) average grade 2.7
- Covid-19 average grade 1.6
- Polio (polio) average grade 1.5
Coronavirus: Covid-19 eradication possible, according to researchers
Vaccination programs were instrumental in eradicating smallpox around the world, the researchers explain. In the case of Covid-19, a combination of vaccination programs, public health measures and global interest in fighting the disease could help eradicate the coronavirus.
Some parts of the world – for example New Zealand – were “Corona-free” without vaccinations for a longer period of time. According to Wilson, this already indicates a technical possibility of worldwide eradication of Covid-19.
In order to defeat Covid-19, Prof. Wilson suggests using so-called ring vaccination programs, as in the fight against smallpox. These programs aimed primarily at the contact persons of the infected and thus ensured the eradication of smallpox. Herd immunity was not necessary.
According to the scientists, the greatest challenges would be to achieve a high vaccination rate against Sars-CoV2 and to adapt the vaccine to the corona mutations. When comparing smallpox and polio, the acceptance of the vaccine against corona is low, according to the researchers. A necessary vaccination quota for an eradication would fail in many rich countries due to vaccination refusals. In poorer countries, on the other hand, there are still too few vaccines to achieve the necessary vaccination rates. The scientists are calling for close international cooperation in the face of “vaccination nationalism” and “anti-science movements”.
Wilson and his team suggest that their analysis has yet to be peer-reviewed. An investigation into the benefits and costs of eradicating Covid-19 is also necessary. In addition, it is important to distinguish between eradicating a disease and reducing the infection rate in a given geographic region.
Polio and smallpox
Polio – poliomyelitis – polio
In Germany there has not been a case of polio (polio) for many years. But the virus is still not eradicated. There is still a risk of polio infection abroad. That is why vaccination against polio is important.
Smallpox – called leaflets, variola major, variola vera or smallpox
Smallpox has been officially eradicated since the 1980s. Global vaccination programs have ended. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports that smallpox strains are still present in only two WHO reference laboratories in the USA and Russia. For centuries, smallpox outbreaks occurred again and again, and in the 18th century 400,000 people died of it in Europe every year.