https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/04/23/a-... (updated May 1)
unfortunately on the treatment side, theres also this
MERS vaccine development is ongoing, with promising canditates in human trials.
Click the wikipedia article, and click to the History section.
Of course, vaccinating the whole population might render those groups less likely to be infected (because of herd immunity) but still, it will involve vaccinating populations which have little risk from the disease with a vaccine that has been fast-tracked through the approval process.
This situation is a disaster.
The CDC still recommends vaccines for the elderly:
Because of age-related changes in their immune systems, people 65 years and older may not respond as well to vaccination as younger people. Although immune responses may be lower in the elderly, studies have consistently found that flu vaccine has been effective in reducing the chance of medical visits and hospitalizations associated with flu.
The virus would need to spread a lot faster globally than it has so far to accomplish that mass herd immunity before the people hit in the first months lose immunity and become susceptible again. At the rate it's going, the virus will still be raging in numerous parts of the world toward the last quarter of the year, just in time for influenza season to start up again in the northern hemisphere.
It's the scenario where you persistently have cases in many parts of the world that are able to reinfect locations that have built up herd immunity previously (and then lost that immunity), so the virus just keeps going around the planet and you can't fully get rid of it. Whack-a-mole style.
Perhaps very long-lasting travel lock-downs could isolate that risk somewhat, however I'm skeptical about that working effectively as the world is still super connected in terms of supply chains and transiting goods (and the people that move them), mixed with the nature of this virus (specifically how easy it is to spread).
We don't know why viruses appear and disappear, but they do all the time, every year.
Secondly, we know why it’s disappearing - it’s clearly associated with containment measures.
User "Touche" asked what he is missing to be convinced that the virus will disappear: he is missing delusion.
For covid, the mutations were minimal, which makes sense - the virus’ construction make it unlikely to mutate (unlike flu).
I'd say the case for vaccination is pretty obvious, even if there is a lull in cases. Seasonal COVID outbreaks don't sound fun.
Maybe in one specific scenario, though. If the vaccine seems to have negative effects, and if the disease seems to have petered out on its own, then we could manufacture enough vaccine, then be ready to give it out if/when another outbreak happens.
But it won't. Way too many infected all over the globe now, eradication is impossible without a vaccine. Either it will eventually infect the entire world, or we'll vaccinate against it. Those are the only two options at this point.
Even if an entire nation managed to eradicate it via distancing, it would only take a single carrier arriving by any means from another country to initiate a second wave and restart the clock.
Edit: I'm not one to engage in meta, but seriously, what the fuck is with the downvotes? Every word of what I said is casually verifiable with a quick google search and is not at all controversial. There is absolutely no way to eradicate SARS-CoV-2 without global immunity due to its exceptionally high R0 combined with the fact that it's already present all over the globe. The only two ways to achieve global immunity is if everyone gets infected and develops immunity, or everyone is vaccinated. Someone who's hitting downvote, please comment and explain.
If an area has contained it once, they have to do it again. They have to try. They are not immune.
If the US decides to go it alone on the herd immunity approach, because they are incapable of making any other approach work, and all other countries reduce the infection rate to close to zero over the summer with the lockdown approach, that US travel ban aint getting lifted.
Most countries have attempted lockdown, opening up as and when their health services are able to cope.
If US citizens were immune but contagious, US citizens would only be free to travel within US borders.
Could end up with Lockdown, branded as freedom.
In that light it makes sense to what ever the rest of the world does.
A few countries/regions currently have close-to-zero new cases and may become green zones where economic and other activities will mostly resume to normal.
Measures that have been used include quarantine and follow-up contact tracing.
The problem is that most of the pharmacological evidence is sparse and anecdotal at worst (except for remedisivir, and now lopinavir/ritonavir/ribavirin/interferon beta). Trials are ongoing and should at least give better answers, or hints.
Protocols change among countries or even across hospitals, so it's kind of hard to figure out which treatment is best. There's a lot of road to cover to come to proper treatments, but if we are to believe case reports, it is undoubtedly much better than when the pandemic started hitting the West.
Many countries have already brought their case rates down to almost 0, and every single one that attempted to resume economic activity saw the case rates spike again, with many now re-introducing distancing measures again. This genie is not going back into the bottle.
The first option is actually potentially more viable on a reasonable timeline than vaccination, especially if we manage to find some kind of effective therapeutics which reduce the ICU and mortality rates.
There is however a potential issue, which is based on SARS data, immunity in recovered individuals only lasts 1-2 years. So unless there's a concerted effort to eradicate via immunisation, there's a measurable risk that SARS-CoV-2 will become a seasonal repeating wave like Influenza.
But I'm optimistic, the current situation has everyone focused on the issue. Except Trump trying to get some special deals for early access or whatever the fuck it is that he's doing.
As an example, Moderna teamed up with Lonza (and also got a big grant from BARDA). Oxford / Vaccitech has deals with Astra Zeneca, Merck, and a few other manufacturers.
sars-cov-2 has proven to be much more difficult to contain than sars-cov-1.
Even if it was contained and was greatly reduced, we'd face a substantial risk of another wave. Supposing we had an effective, safe vaccine with reasonable cost, balancing the risk and cost of vaccinating vs not vaccinating, I'm pretty sure we'd want to vaccinate. The last thing we'd want is another global shutdown in, e.g. 2022.
In any case, this would be a wonderful choice to face, since it assumes covid-19 is gone and a safe, effective vaccine with reasonable cost exists.
But if it _does_ vanish in a few months (sadly, this doesn't seem plausible), it would probably make sense to produce and stockpile a vaccine, if a viable one is found, but not actually vaccinate unless it reappears.