Interviewer: Professor Rustom Antia, thank you very much for
taking the time to do this interview with us today to discuss
the similarities and differences in the pathology of SARS-CoV-2 and
other coronaviruses, and discuss the subsequent transfer
of COVID-19 from pandemic to endemic disease.
First of all, could you provide us with some background to the research
you recently published in the journal 'Science', where you
applied immunological dynamics and epidemiological data of
endemic coronaviruses to model
the possible future evolution of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic?
What was the initial question that you were attempting to answer?
Prof. Antia: Thank you. Our research integrates the immunological characteristics of virus infections,
such as the duration of immune memory and
how much previous infection reduces pathology following subsequent infections,
to better understand the transmission of the virus in the population.
We proposed to apply this approach to better understand the dynamics
of the endemic human coronaviruses and in particular SARS-CoV-2.
Interviewer: What does your analysis show about the ways in which
endemic coronaviruses infect human populations?
Prof. Antia: There are four strains of endemic human coronaviruses, serological
data show that individuals get infected early
in childhood and these infections are generally mild.
We know this because they develop
antibodies typically by the time they are about four years old.
We also looked at the data and found that it appears that individuals get infected