2023 may be the year we figure out how the world will finally live COVID. good, many Of the world. Ironically, Omicron subspecies of SARS-CoV-2 Thank you virus.
The successive waves of infections from Omicron and its subspecies that began in late 2021 created so much natural immunity across the population that most countries are now well positioned to survive the new subspecies. There is. Lawrence Gostin, a global health expert at Georgetown University, told the Daily Beast:
Yes, people get sick when new forms of the virus prevail.but thanks to them innate immunity, they probably won’t get very sick. And new infections spread new antibodies, prolonging people’s natural immunity through the next wave of infections.
“The waves will become shallower and shallower and recede like ripples in a pond,” Jeffrey Klausner, an epidemiologist at the University of Southern California, told the Daily Beast.
This hard-earned conservation exception, of course, ChinaIt was the only major country to implement a strict lockdown for much of the last year, resulting in a widespread lack of natural immunity. As far as COVID antibodies are concerned, China could spend 2023 catching up with the rest of the world.
The problem for the 1.4 billion Chinese is that catching up means that many people will get COVID without the strong protection that natural immunity provides.SARS-CoV-2 will always be everywhere If 2023 will be the first year in four years that most people in the world feel safe, Also This will be the first year that China gets really sick.
The world, with the exception of China, acquired natural immunity the hard way by contracting COVID. Of course, vaccines have eased the pain, but vaccine-induced antibodies don’t last forever. rice field. At the same time, many countries have lifted the last major restrictions on business, schools and travel. Omicron appears there.
More contagious than older variants but less severe, Omicron caused record cases in late 2021 and early 2022, spawning variants such as BA.2, BA.5. BQ.1 It caused its own small surge throughout the year.
However, the overall trend in 2022 was towards fewer and fewer hospitalizations and deaths. People were returning to their normal version, and in countries where the virus was rampant, everyone accumulating natural antibodies was doing their job.
It is virtuous and self-reinforcing. “Innate immunity is continuously renewed as the virus circulates widely, which means that populations have significant levels of immunity over time,” he explained Gostin.
“We have been in the subspecies omicron or sub-omicron stage for a long time. it should continue.“
This protection offers a glimmer of hope for 2023 and beyond. Edwin Michael, an epidemiologist at the Center for Global Health Infectious Diseases Research at the University of South Florida, told the Daily Beast: “New variants will cause flare-ups, but given how strong innate immunity is, we expect such surges in cases to be small and easily managed compared to Omicron, for example.”
Not so in China, which until a few weeks ago enforced a strict lockdown. Widespread public protests, which are very rare in authoritarian countries, have put heavy pressure on the ruling Chinese Communist Party since late November. On December 7, the party withdrew many of the restrictions.
Epidemiologists say the sudden lifting of lockdowns in a country with poorly built natural immunity and low vaccination coverage among the most vulnerable parts of the population, the elderly, could mean severe infections overwhelm hospitals. I warned that it could lead to disaster.
After just a few weeks, they’ve already been proven right. epidemic in beijing Local governments have been forced to reinstate some of the restrictions they have just lifted. But a return to unpopular lockdowns will only delay the inevitable.
The Chinese want to get back to their daily lives. You need natural antibodies to get there. However, natural antibodies are developed only through infection. And these infections (potentially tens of millions) could define her 2023 in China.
But for the rest of the world, 2020 could be the most mediocre year since. Retribution for suffering by Omicron and his descendants. If there’s a potential spoiler, it’s that SARS-CoV-2 can be unpredictable.
As long as the virus is circulating, it is mutating. For over a year, mutations have produced Omicron subvariants that reduce vaccine efficacy and, in the case of her latest BQ subvariant, render monoclonal antibody therapy completely ineffective. But they haven’t circumvented our natural antibodies.
Klausner doesn’t think that will change. “There are many different types of subvariants, no dramatic changes.
If not, and if some new subspecies or subspecies emerge that fend off our natural antibodies, not only China but the whole world will have to endure a wave of infections. without it Protection of innate immunity. That’s how a normal-looking dream in 2023 can turn into a nightmare.