Could the novel coronavirus one day become a common cold?

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The deadly SARS-CoV-2 may one day become a commonly circulating cold virus that just causes some mild sniffles. Photo: Pexels

(Yasemin Saplakoglou/ Live Science) –– One day, the pandemic will end. Scientists don’t know how that finale will play out but a new model offers a teaser: The deadly SARS-CoV-2 may not totally disappear but instead become a commonly circulating cold virus that just causes some mild sniffles.

This model, published Jan. 12 in the journal Science, is based on analyses of other coronaviruses, the majority of which cause only mild symptoms in humans. There are six known coronaviruses that infect humans; four are coronaviruses that are “endemic” or regularly circulate among human populations and cause the common cold. 

The other two coronaviruses — the ones that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) — are more deadly, though the first was eliminated years ago and the latter has been largely contained. (…)

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