Corona virus: does high temperature eliminate the epidemic?

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A woman wearing winter clothes and a muzzle

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Many infectious diseases are common or subside in certain seasons of the year. Flu and the enterovirus are spread in the cold months, while rates of typhoid peak in the summer. Measles cases decrease in the summer in areas with moderate weather, while in dry seasons it rises in the tropics.

By analogy, many question the possibility of a decrease in the incidence of the emerging coronavirus when the summer comes, as do all other seasonal communicable diseases.

Since it appeared in mid-December, the virus has spread rapidly around the world, and the highest rates of infection have been recorded in Europe and the United States. It was noted that the cold regions were the most affected by the virus, which led some to believe that high temperatures may affect the pattern of spread of the virus.

But experts cautioned against pinning hopes on the possibility of a decline in epidemics in the summer.

This may be because the Corona virus is still new and there is no evidence yet to confirm that it is affected by seasonal climate changes.

But studies on other coronaviruses may help us predict how the new corona virus will turn into a seasonal disease.

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People are hoping that the incidence of the new coronavirus will decrease as temperatures rise in the northern hemisphere

Kate Templeton, from the University of Edinburgh’s Center for Infectious Diseases, conducted a study ten years ago, in which she collected samples of three types of coronavirus that cause respiratory diseases, from patients in hospitals and clinics in Edinburgh, and noticed that these viruses spread in the winter, as infection rates increase in The period between December and April.

The emerging outbreak of the Corona virus around the world may indicate that this virus prefers cold and dry weather.

A weather analysis of 500 regions around the world linked HIV infection rates to temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity. And a study concluded that the higher the temperature, the lower the incidence of it.

Researchers predicted in a study that has not been published yet, that the regions with a moderate and cold climate will be the most affected by the outbreak of the Corona virus and followed by the arid regions. In this study, researchers suggest that the tropics are the least affected by the spread of the virus.

In these studies, the researchers relied on computer simulation models to predict patterns of spread of the emerging virus throughout the year.

However, patterns of epidemics differ from those of seasonal endemic viruses, which have been associated with humans for a long time. Spanish cases of influenza infection reached their peak in 1918, for example, in the summer, while seasonal flu is predominant in the winter.

Jan Abert, professor of infectious diseases at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, says the new Coruna virus is expected to become endemic and often seasonal.

There are reasons for researchers to believe that the new corona virus may become seasonal. Corona viruses belong to a group of viruses called encapsulated viruses, meaning that they are covered with an oily outer membrane, known as the double fatty layer, and protrusion of proteins that resemble the crown ends, and for this reason they are called coronavirus.

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Currently there are very few studies looking at the impact of weather on the spread of the emerging corona virus

Research on encapsulated viruses indicates that this sebaceous membrane makes viruses more sensitive to heat than others that are not coated. This layer of fat freezes in cold weather, such as freezing the fallen fats from the meat after cooling, and hardens and turns into a kind of rubber to protect the virus for a longer time when it is outside the body and for this most of the coated viruses respond to seasonal changes.

A study indicated that the new corona virus may survive for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces, such as plastic and iron, under temperatures between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity of 40 percent. Research on other coronaviruses indicated that they may live for up to 28 days under four degrees Celsius.

It was also noted that the coronavirus, which causes SARS, lives longer in cold and dry weather. The Corona virus survived for more than five days on solid surfaces at temperatures between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius and relative humidity between 40 and 50 percent. The higher the temperature and humidity, the weaker the virus can survive and then transmit the infection.

Miguel Araoho, who studies the effects of environmental changes on biodiversity at the National Institute of Natural Sciences in Madrid, says the weather affects the ability of the virus to survive when it exits the body through sneezing and coughing. The longer the virus survives in the environment, the more likely it is to transmit it to other people and turn it into a pandemic.

Arahao believes that if the emerging coronavirus is proven to be affected by temperature and humidity like other coronaviruses, then the peak of the outbreak will vary from country to country.

However, he says that human behaviors play a large role in the spread of the virus. The more people in one place the more contact, then the greater the risk of infection.

A University of Maryland study demonstrated that the emerging coronavirus was more prevalent in cities and regions where the temperature ranged between five and eleven degrees Celsius and the relative humidity was low.

But a study by Harvard University School of Medicine concluded that the emerging corona virus may be less affected by weather than many expect, as many infections have appeared in the tropics, although previous studies have shown that the rate of transmission is declining in warm and humid environments.

The researchers concluded that the high temperatures and humidity in the spring and summer months will not necessarily lead to a decrease in the incidence of the emerging coronavirus unless it is accompanied by expanded health measures and measures to prevent the transmission of the virus from one person to another.

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Laboratory research and computer simulation models show that warm weather and humidity impair the ability of the emerging coronavirus to survive.

This is because the spread of viruses depends on other factors such as human behavior, as much as it depends on the environment. Seasonal changes in human behavior may also alter transmission rates.

In Europe, for example, high rates of measles coincide with the attendance of pupils in schools and the decline in holidays. The Chinese moves from one country to another before and after the Chinese Lunar New Year played a great role in spreading the new Corona virus from Wuhan to neighboring cities in China and from around the world.

Weather may also weaken our immune system and make us more vulnerable to infectious diseases. For example, there are fewer vitamin D levels in the body in the winter due to less exposure to the sun. Studies have shown that vitamin D levels in the body affect our ability to fight infectious diseases.

While other studies indicated that cold weather increases the number of immune cells that protect the body from infectious diseases. A study has shown that dry air weakens the ciliary mucosal clearance mechanism, as it reduces the amount of mucus that acts as a natural defense against pathogenic bacteria and bacteria.

A study in China, which has not been published yet, linked the possibility of dying from infection with the emerging coronavirus with the weather. The scientists looked at data for 2,300 deaths in Wuhan, and compared them with pollution levels, humidity, and temperature on the day the injury occurred.

The study concluded that the higher the temperatures and humidity levels in the days that the infection was transmitted, the fewer the chances of death from the virus. The study also indicated that the large variation between high and low temperatures increases the risk of the virus and its ability to kill the infected person.

It is highly unlikely that many will acquire immunity to the emerging coronavirus unless they contract and recover from it, after which the virus will transform from a pandemic into an endemic disease.

Vitoria Collisa, director of research at the French Institute for Health and Medical Research, says the virus initially spread through flights, but once it reached the communities it spread from person to person through contact and contact. Stopping contact with people may contribute to a decrease in infection rates.

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The new Corona virus is not likely to disappear entirely, even if the infection cases decrease in the summer months, and it is expected that it will reappear later.

But Colisa warns it is too early to know how enough new measures imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus. But it can undoubtedly reduce transmission rates due to reduced contact.

The Albert model indicates that any decline in infection rates in the coming months will be due to several factors, the first of which are preventive measures such as isolation and general closure, high immunity in the population, and seasonal climate changes.

But some evidence suggests that the emerging Corona virus is not likely to completely disappear in the summer months, even if it responds to seasonal climate changes. But falling HIV infection rates will bring many advantages.

Albert says that the measures taken to delay the peak transmission rates of the virus undoubtedly cost the country economic losses, but they will contribute to limiting the spread of the virus until the summer, in the hope that high temperatures will affect the rate of the virus.

As countries of the world struggle to deal with rising cases of infection, delaying the epidemic will save healthcare systems the time they badly need to make the necessary preparations to tackle the emerging virus when it re-spreads.





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