Health

When to Expect the End of the Pandemic

Three major medical advances are antiseptics, antibiotics, and vaccines, which have saved billions of lives from a variety of dangerous infections. A vaccine is considered the only means to finally defeat COVID-19; in its absence, no return to pre-pandemic normalcy is expected. Since the pandemic began, the search for an effective vaccine has become an urgent public health priority, and mass vaccination is the surest way to stop the pandemic. The task of any vaccination is to familiarize the body with the causative agent of a particular infection and to develop specific immunity. In this case, the vaccine should make a person immune to COVID-19 infection. Therefore, more than 80 companies around the world sought to create a vaccine against COVID-19 in record time. However, developing the drug itself was not enough; it was necessary to make sure that the vaccine not only provided reliable immunity but was also safe to use. That is, it has no side effects and is equally suitable for the vast majority of people – including the elderly and those with health problems.

What is the attitude towards rapid antigen tests?

Express tests such as the FlowFlex antigen test have been on the market for a long time and their sensitivity and accuracy of results have reached a very high level, but they still cannot compare to the reference standard, i.e. the PCR test. It is important to know that the rapid antigen test recognizes the virus only if the virus content in the body is very high, usually on days 4-5 after the onset of symptoms. However, a person can present a risk of infection even before the onset of symptoms and for several weeks after their appearance, in which case the antigen test is useless. More than ten compliant rapid antigen tests for self-diagnosis are known to be on sale, and their number is growing. Ordinary users (not medical professionals) are advised to give preference to tests that are labeled “for self-testing.”  However, if someone asks you “how accurate is the Covid antigen test”, now you have the answer.

There are also tests that are intended only for professional use by or under the direction of health care professionals. The average user is not prohibited from using these tests for self-testing, but it should be kept in mind that in this way the tests are not used as intended, that is, there may be errors in performing and interpreting the result, which reduces the reliability of the test. This means that the average user is more likely to get a false positive or false negative result.

When to expect the end of the pandemic – expert predictions

How long we have to wear masks and endure the physical and economic inconvenience of quarantine measures depends largely on the timing of the emergence of collective immunity. After all, if enough people become immune to the coronavirus, the infection cannot be transmitted effectively. The risk of contracting the disease will become minimal, and inconvenient restrictive measures can finally be lifted. International epidemiologists and experts suggest that only by the end of 2022 we can expect more or less complete vaccination coverage of the world’s population, after which COVID-19 will be brought under control. After that, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will move into the realm of banal acute respiratory diseases and will most likely become a vaccine-preventable infection, unless fundamentally new strains of the coronavirus emerge.