Facebook Twitter

COVID-19 is expected to ‘become seasonal,’ expert says

Experts say SARS-CoV-2 will be a seasonal virus that the population will always have to deal with.

SHARE COVID-19 is expected to ‘become seasonal,’ expert says
In this May 4, 2020 file photo, healthcare workers run a coronavirus testing site for Smithfield employees in the Washington High School parking lot on Monday, May 4, 2020 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

In this May 4, 2020, file photo, health care workers run a coronavirus testing site for Smithfield employees in the Washington High School parking lot on Monday, May 4, 2020 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Erin Bormett, The Argus Leader via Associated Press

An expert in infectious diseases recently said he expects the coronavirus to become a seasonal virus — even though a COVID-19 vaccine is on the way.

What’s going on?

Ralf Bartenschlager, professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology, at Heidelberg University, recently said the coronavirus will be seasonal, which is why more needs to be done to learn about the virus, SciTech Daily reports.

  • “By now we can expect the coronavirus to become seasonal,” he said. “Thus, there is an urgent need to develop and implement both prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against this virus.” 

Bartenschlager and other experts recently conducted a study to find out how the coronavirus reprograms infected cells, and what that could mean for the future of the virus.

Will COVID-19 be seasonal?

The research is a little split about how COVID-19 will impact us after the pandemic ends and what the vaccine does for immunity.

In September, a new study argued that COVID-19 would likely become seasonal similar to influenza — but only after there is a vaccine and the society becomes immune to it.

  • “In temperate regions, this would mean reduced infections in the summer and peaks in the winter. However, this seasonality is only likely to occur once a vaccine is developed and greater herd immunity is achieved,” according to Medical News Today.

But in October, a separate study — published in the journal Nature — said COVID-19 will likely be a year-round problem that we’ll struggle to shake.

  • “Environmental factors such as humidity and temperature don’t appear to affect the coronavirus as much as other viruses, which flourish more in the dry, cold months of winter,” per WebMD.