While the world is racing ahead to land on the first vaccine that will finally tame the virus down, a recent warning from an immunology professor at London’s Imperial college sound otherwise.
Speaking to television channel CNBC in Europe, the London immunologist shattered dreams of a ‘normal’ world that many are seeing with the finding of a coronavirus vaccine.
“And immunity to this thing looks rather fragile — it looks like some people might have antibodies for a few months and then it might wane, so it’s not looking like a safe bet,” Danny Altmann said. “It’s a very deceitful virus and immunity to it is very confusing and rather short-lived.”
The expert also sheds light on the anticipation of using the so-called ‘herd immunity’ to combat the spread of the virus, which he refuted by saying the idea is “probably never going to work.”
In heard-immunity, a population is allowed exposure to a virus, and the population is believed to cultivate immunity against the virus – an idea, CNBC notes, was widely circulated by Swedish scientists who made the claim to avoid lockdown.
The novel virus has to date perplexed healthcare experts and organizations alike. The WHO noted that it still remains unclear if a person who has grown immune to the disease after contracting it can still avert a second infection.
“There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” WHO states.
A similar sentiment was echoed by America’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Faccui, who said chances are that a vaccine against COVID-19 might not give a “lot of durability and protection,” he said, referring to the protection of vaccines on other types of coronavirus “ranges from three to six months to almost always less than a year.”
“Anybody who thinks that it has got more mild or gone away or that somehow the problem’s going to solve itself is kidding themselves,” Danny Altmann, of London Imperial College told CNBC.
“It’s still a very lethal virus, it still infects people very, very readily. And I think humanity isn’t used to dealing with those realities.”
Experts have warned that a second wave COVID-19 could sweep over Britain this Winter, which could be potentially more fatal than the first wave and can strain the nation’s healthcare system with the twin-threat of COVID and flu season.
At least 100 candidates around the world are racing to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, with Russia possibly leading the pack, having successfully conducted their clinical trial.
“[…] at the moment and many things can go wrong along the way. I place no bets at the moment myself,” Altmann said.