SARS-CoV-2 will continue to circulate in the human population: an opinion from the point of view of the virus-host relationship.Inflamm Res. 2020 Jul; 69(7):635-640.IR
At the population level, the virus-host relationship is not set up to end with the complete elimination of either or both. Pathogen-resistant individuals will always remain in the host population. In turn, the virus can never completely eliminate the host population, because evolutionarily such an event is a dead end for the virus as an obligate intracellular parasite. A certain existential balance exists in the virus-host relationship. Against this backdrop, viral epidemics and pandemics only become manifest and egregious to human beings when tens and hundreds of thousands of people die and the question emerges what caused the high mortality peaks on the death chart. The answer seems clear; the emerging strain of the virus is new to the host population, and new mutations of the virus and natural selection will lead to a survival of only genetically resistant individuals in a host population. The dangers inherent to a novel virus are due to new features generally inthe molecular structure of proteins, which enable the virus to infect the cells of the host organism more intensively, dramatically challenging host immunity, and thus be transmitted more readily in the host population. In this article, we will concentrate on the facts currently available about severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which has caused COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic and try to predict its development and consequences based on the virus-host relationship. In fact, only two scenarios will occur simultaneously in the very near future: people who are genetically resistant to the virus will get sick, recover, and develop immunity, while people who are sensitive to the virus will need drugs and vaccines, which will have to be researched and developed if they are to recover. If the pandemic does not stop, in a few decades it is anticipated that SARS-CoV-2 will become as safe as the four non-severe acute respiratory syndrome human coronaviruses (HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKU1, HCoV-OC43, and HCoV-229E) currently circulating but causing low mortality in the human population.