The world is currently faced with the question of how CoV-2 severity may change in the years ahead. In this article, the authors performed an analysis of immunological and epidemiological data on endemic human coronaviruses (HCoVs) showing that infection-blocking immunity wanes rapidly, but disease-reducing immunity is long-lived. Their model, incorporating these components of immunity, recapitulates both the current severity of CoV-2 and the benign nature of HCoVs, suggesting that once the endemic phase is reached and primary exposure is in childhood, CoV-2 may be no more virulent than the common cold. They predict a different outcome for an emergent coronavirus that causes severe disease in children.
The authors concluded that these results reinforce the importance of behavioural containment during pandemic vaccine rollout, while prompting us to evaluate scenarios for continuing vaccination in an endemic phase.