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Fri Mar 31, 2023, 10:02 AM

Marc Veldhoen: SARS CoV-2, New and Familiar

Dr. Veldhoen is one of the world's leading immunological. Originally from the Netherlands, he teaches at the University of Lisbon and writes so well even scientists should be able to understand him:

SARS-CoV-2, new and familiar.
3/29/20230 Comments

SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that is the cause of COVID-19, is new but also familiar. What we have seen in the past 3 years is virology and immunology in real time unfolding.

SARS-CoV-2 has behaved much as we expected it to behave. The route of infection, the cells its infects, its transmission, replication, in large part its evolutionary path, its selection criteria, the epidemiology, the way the immune system detects it and responds, the antibodies that bind it and wane, the T cell response that stays, the reinfections, how to detect it, and how to target it with a vaccine, did not hold much mystery. We knew much, expected most, but certainly not everything was and is understood!

Letīs start with some statements to avoid confusion:
Pathogens, such as viruses, parasites, fungi, or bacteria, can cause disease and kill people
Getting infected with a pathogen is never "good"
Infections can result in damage, including to organs and immunity
There are many poorly understood ways infections can cause problems
The result of an infection is person-dependent and can range from asymptomatic to severe illness and death
Endemic does not mean mild or "nothing to worry about"​
Seasonal also does not mean mild, nor does it exclude transmission at other times.
We know a lot about viruses and immunity. What we have seen happening in the past three years is infection and immunity in real time. Not only that, but we have also seen much of what was predicted from decades of study of viruses and the immune system. SARS-CoV-2 has confirmed a lot of the things we know. That does not mean there were totally no surprises, it does not mean we should not have studied it and it certainly does not mean we know all there is to know. There are major gaps in some things. But overall, SARS-CoV-2 and the immune response were textbook.


The virus is endemic and about to be seasonal. And we have built up immunity through vaccines and infection
Per usual.

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