People with PSC are thought to be at higher risk of getting a more severe COVID-19 than the average 'healthy' person.
Some have been advised to shield, meaning they should not leave their homes or have any close contact with those members of their household who can go outside. Many cannot work and are experiencing a significant loss of income, not to mention a possibly irreparable interruption to their careers.
What is being asked of people who are shielding cannot be underestimated, and while SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is at large in the population, they do not feel safe. With no definite end date to shielding, they can only watch and wait from behind closed doors while the world's scientists race to find a cure or vaccine.
Zania Stamataki, Senior Lecturer in Viral Immunology at the University of Birmingham gives us some much-needed reasons to be optimistic.
- In just a few months, 90 vaccines are under development. This is an incredible achievement. Vaccine development is a long, complex and expensive process, often lasting 10-15 years, but coronavirus vaccines are moving quickly and some are already being tested in humans.
- This virus can be cured. SARS-CoV-2 cannot make fresh copies of itself after immune elimination, unlike other viruses, meaning that it can be cured.
- Most people who have had COVID-19 develop develop specific immune responses. Vaccine products are based on these immune responses and can be refined and enriched so that the body has an even stronger response to the virus.
- Once developed, an effective vaccine for coronavirus may not require updating for quite some time because coronaviruses mutate slowly.
- Researchers are taking different approaches to develop a vaccine. This gives a higher chance of success at the earliest opportunity.
Zania believes that a vaccine within our reach, which is very encouraging. You can read Zania's full article at theconversation.com