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Pathogens ; 11(4)2022 Mar 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1822430


It has been posited SARS-CoV-2 contains at least one unique superantigen-like motif not found in any other SARS or endemic coronaviruses. Superantigens are potent antigens that can send the immune system into overdrive. SARS-CoV-2 causes many of the biological and clinical consequences of a superantigen, and, in the context of reinfection and waning immunity, it is important to better understand the impact of a widely circulating, airborne pathogen that may be a superantigen, superantigen-like or trigger a superantigenic host response. Urgent research is needed to better understand the long-term risks being taken by governments whose policies enable widespread transmission of a potential superantigenic pathogen, and to more clearly define the vaccination and public health policies needed to protect against the consequences of repeat exposure to the pathogen.

Pathogens ; 10(10)2021 Oct 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444289


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 231 million people globally, with more than 4.7 million deaths recorded by the World Health Organization as of 26 September 2021. In response to the pandemic, some countries (New Zealand, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea and others) have pursued suppression strategies, so-called Zero COVID policies, to drive and maintain infection rates as close to zero as possible and respond aggressively to new cases. In comparison, European countries and North America have adopted mitigation strategies (of varying intensity and effectiveness) that aim primarily to prevent health systems from being overwhelmed. With recent advances in our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and its biology, and the increasing recognition there is more to COVID-19 beyond the acute infection, we offer a perspective on some of the long-term risks of mutational escape, viral persistence, reinfection, immune dysregulation and neurological and multi-system complications (Long COVID).