The unique characteristics of this pandemic may not allow people to completely eradicate it, but public health measures and good vaccines should bring “very good control,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.
Driving the news: “We are living, right now, through a historic pandemic outbreak. And, we are, right now, in a situation where we do not see any particular end in sight,” Fauci told a panel hosted by the not-for-profit TB Alliance.
“It’s the perfect storm,” Fauci says. “We often talk about outbreaks and pandemics, be they influenza or other pathogens, that have to have a few characteristics that make them particularly formidable. Well, this particular virus has that.”
- For a public health official, this is “almost your worst nightmare,” Fauci adds.
- He points out that SARS-CoV-2 jumps species, is a new pathogen with no known innate human immunity, and is a respiratory-borne virus that is “spectacularly efficient” at spreading from human to human and has a “substantial degree of morbidity and mortality, particularly in certain populations of people.”
Plus, “the spectrum of involvement with the same pathogen is very unique,” Fauci says.
- “I’ve never seen an infection in which you have such a broad range — of literally nothing, namely no symptoms at all, in a substantial proportion of the population; to some who get ill with minor symptoms; to some who get ill enough to be in bed for weeks and have post-viral syndromes; [to] others [who] get hospitalized, require oxygen, intensive care, ventilation and death.”
- From what doctors can tell right now, Fauci says the pathogenesis of the disease indicates “you want to block the virus and keep the immune systems intact early on. But, you want to block inflammation later on, because that assumes a much greater role.”