À l'approche de la fin de l'année, nous approchons du deuxième anniversaire de la pandémie de COVID-19. Dans le monde, plus de 5 millions de personnes sont mortes, et c'est presque certainement un sous-dénombrement, en particulier dans les pays qui manquent encore de ressources pour tester et vacciner correctement leurs populations. Les États-Unis ont signalé plus de 750 000 décès dus au COVID-19, et nous avons vu quatre flambées de cas depuis le début de 2020, en espérant que chacun serait le dernier. Pas plus tard que la semaine dernière, les scientifiques ont détecté une nouvelle variante fortement mutée, Omicron, qui pourrait finir par entraîner une nouvelle vague de cas – ou n'avoir aucun effet durable. Nous ne savons pas encore assez pour le dire.

Tout le monde est prêt pour la fin de la pandémie, mais on ne sait toujours pas à quoi cela ressemblerait. Quelle est la probabilité d'éradiquer le virus ? Qu'est-ce que cela signifierait vraiment, et à quoi ressemblera le monde si nous ne le pouvons pas ?

Bien que nous ignorions encore beaucoup de choses sur le SRAS-CoV-2, le virus qui cause le COVID-19, nous en avons suffisamment appris pour répondre à certaines de ces questions.

Pouvons-nous éradiquer le COVID-19 ?

Certaines personnes le pensent. Les partisans d'une campagne pour éradiquer le virus citent les coûts élevés d'un virus endémique du SRAS-CoV-2, à la fois en termes de santé et en tant que problème économique permanent. À ce jour, plus de 250 millions d'infections ont été confirmées dans le monde avec plus de 5 millions de décès, et en l'absence de toute intervention, les économistes ont estimé que les infections au COVID-19 coûteraient 1,4 billion de dollars américains d'ici 2030. Même avec les vaccins, le COVID-19 sera toujours extrêmement coûteux dans les années à venir sur plusieurs fronts.

Et il est vrai qu'une fois qu'un agent pathogène est éradiqué, les mesures d'atténuation peuvent être réduites ou éliminées. Nous ne vaccinons plus le grand public contre la variole (bien que nous maintenions un programme militaire de vaccination contre la variole en raison du potentiel de bioterrorisme). Une revue médicale a suggéré que l'éradication du SRAS-CoV-2 ne devrait pas être exclue et qu'elle pourrait être à peu près aussi difficile que nos efforts actuels d'éradication de la poliomyélite.

Je ne suis pas d'accord. L'épidémiologie du virus rend l'éradication peu probable. Investir dans une campagne pour le faire serait une mauvaise utilisation de ressources limitées, et l'échec d'une campagne d'éradication très médiatisée pourrait rendre les autres niveaux de contrôle plus difficiles.

Quelle est la différence entre l'éradication, l'extinction et l'élimination d'un virus ?

L'éradication signifie que le virus est complètement éteint dans la nature. Nous y sommes parvenus avec la variole chez les humains et la peste bovine chez les animaux. L'extinction va plus loin et inclut également la destruction de tout échantillon dans les stocks de laboratoire. Cela ne s'est encore produit pour aucun agent pathogène, pour de nombreuses raisons principalement politiques plutôt que scientifiques : surtout, la méfiance mutuelle entre les États-Unis et la Russie, qui détiennent chacun des stocks restants de virus.

L'éradication est parfois confondue avec l'élimination. Alors que l'éradication fait référence à l'extermination mondiale du virus (sauf dans les laboratoires), l'élimination fait référence à une forme de contrôle plus limitée, où les nouvelles infections dans des pays particuliers sont réduites à zéro. Aux États-Unis, nous l'avons fait avec d'autres virus, notamment ceux qui causent la rougeole, la rubéole (rougeole allemande) et la polio. Bien que nous ayons eu récemment des épidémies de rougeole, les cas initiaux pour chaque épidémie provenaient d'une source extérieure - généralement un voyageur qui a été infecté à l'étranger avant de se rendre dans une zone où la rougeole reste endémique.

Maintenir l'élimination est difficile. Les États-Unis, qui ont éliminé la rougeole, ont presque perdu ce statut en raison d'une épidémie de 2019 qui a fait augmenter les cas dans le monde (principalement en raison d'épidémies parmi les non vaccinés).

Qu'est-ce qui rend le COVID-19 si résistant à l'éradication ?

Un candidat à l'éradication possédera généralement trois qualités  : une intervention efficace qui peut arrêter la transmission, des outils de diagnostic facilement disponibles qui peuvent détecter rapidement l'infection et une absence de la maladie chez les animaux non humains. COVID-19 échoue sur les trois points.

Nous pensons qu'environ 35% des infections au COVID-19 sont asymptomatiques. Cela complique le contrôle de la propagation et le diagnostic. Pour chaque cas symptomatique, de nombreuses autres infections se sont presque certainement produites qui sont passées inaperçues. Pour les trouver, nous aurions besoin de mettre en place de vastes programmes de surveillance (comme nous l'avons fait dans la campagne d'éradication de la polio), en examinant les cas humains ainsi que des échantillons d'eaux usées pour déterminer si le virus circule dans une communauté. Il est difficile d'interrompre la transmission si vous ne savez même pas que la maladie est là.

Et même pour les cas symptomatiques, le diagnostic est lourd. Contrairement à la variole, qui présentait des symptômes très distincts qui pouvaient facilement la distinguer d'autres virus provoquant des éruptions cutanées, le COVID-19 provoque des symptômes qui peuvent être similaires à ceux de la grippe et d'autres virus respiratoires, ce qui signifie que des tests rapides, précis, généralisés et abordables sont critique pour confirmer les cas.

Enfin, la maladie circule actuellement parmi plusieurs espèces d'animaux en plus des humains, sans aucune fin en vue.

Qu'est-ce que les autres animaux ont à voir avec nos efforts d'éradication ?

La variole, la rougeole et la polio sont toutes causées par des virus spécifiques à l'homme ; ils n'infectent pas d'autres animaux et sont donc des cibles plus faciles à éradiquer. Le SRAS-CoV-2, en revanche, est un agent pathogène zoonotique qui provient d'une espèce encore inconnue, probablement une chauve-souris. Cela signifie qu'il existe déjà un réservoir non humain du virus dans la nature. Après sa propagation à l'homme, les chercheurs ont identifié le SRAS-CoV-2 dans de nombreuses autres espèces animales, notamment les furets, les loutres, les cerfs de Virginie, les gorilles, les visons et plus encore.

Ces infections animales compliquent les efforts d'éradication, car il y aura toujours des sources du virus qui pourraient le réintroduire chez l'homme. La transmission d'animal à humain peut être rare (bien que la transmission de vison à humain ait déjà été documentée), mais il suffit d'un seul événement pour ramener le virus dans une zone où il a été éliminé. Chaque nouvelle chaîne de transmission doit être arrêtée si l'éradication ou l'élimination est l'objectif à long terme.

Et les vaccins ?

Les vaccins ont été une excellente méthode pour interrompre la transmission, mais les vaccins actuels contre le COVID-19 ne sont tout simplement pas aussi efficaces que les vaccins contre la variole, la rougeole et la polio. Les vaccins COVID-19 réduisent la transmission si les individus vaccinés sont infectés, mais ils ne l'éliminent pas complètement. Encore une fois, cela rend l'éradication beaucoup plus difficile.

Un problème supplémentaire est celui des variantes. Les virus qui causent la rougeole, la variole et la polio ont une diversité génétique moindre, de sorte que les variants peuvent généralement être neutralisés par l'immunité induite par le vaccin. Avec le SRAS-CoV-2, nous ne savons pas encore quel sera l'impact des variantes, mais il est au moins théoriquement possible qu'une variante émerge qui puisse complètement échapper à l'immunité induite par la vaccination ou une infection antérieure. (Des tests sont actuellement en cours avec le variant Omicron pour déterminer s'il a la capacité de s'échapper des anticorps générés contre des variants antérieurs.) Des mutations dans la protéine de pointe du virus, qui se lie aux cellules de l'hôte et que le système immunitaire reconnaît, pourraient entraîner modifications de la séquence d'acides aminés de la protéine. Si ces changements surviennent aux bons endroits, ils pourraient altérer la protéine à un degré tel que nos anticorps s'y lieront moins étroitement ou ne reconnaîtront plus la protéine.

Il y a aussi la question de la diminution de l'immunité au fil du temps. La vaccination contre la polio, la variole et la rougeole entraîne une immunité à long terme, voire à vie. Avec les coronavirus en général, nous savons que l'immunité peut décliner rapidement, laissant les individus sensibles à la réinfection. Nous en assistons déjà maintenant avec le SRAS-CoV-2, à la fois chez les individus vaccinés et précédemment infectés.

La solution à ces problèmes est simplement des vaccinations supplémentaires, mais cela nécessite une campagne de vaccination mondiale régulière qui devrait surpasser les efforts de vaccination en 2021, qui eux-mêmes n'ont été réalisés qu'avec un financement d'urgence et ont encore laissé de nombreux non vaccinés, soit parce qu'ils ont refusé le vaccin. ou parce qu'il n'est pas encore disponible pour eux.

Existe-t-il d'autres raisons d'être sceptique quant à l'éradication du SRAS-CoV-2 ?

Bien que la discussion sur la biologie de l'agent pathogène puisse dominer lorsque nous examinons le potentiel d'éradication, ce n'est qu'un aspect du problème. Les considérations politiques et économiques sont potentiellement plus difficiles.

L'éradication est une entreprise mondiale. Les interventions doivent être disponibles à l'échelle mondiale et abordables, et les nations doivent s'accorder sur le fait que l'éradication est non seulement possible mais nécessaire. La conclusion d'un tel accord serait facilitée par l'Assemblée mondiale de la santé, l'organe décisionnel de l'Organisation mondiale de la santé. C'est ici que toute campagne doit commencer, car les délégués sont les premiers à décider si l'éradication est faisable, si c'est une bonne utilisation des ressources, si tous les pays l'apprécieraient suffisamment pour y contribuer, etc. Même en supposant que tout le monde soit intéressé à travailler vers l'objectif - ce qui suppose beaucoup - d'innombrables problèmes logistiques retarderaient et entraveraient le projet.

Que fait-on à la place ?

Bien que l'éradication soit peu probable, nous avons d'autres options. L'élimination des infections - la réduction à zéro dans des zones géographiques définies - est peut-être possible, mais même cela nécessiterait de nombreuses années de travail soutenu. L’élimination serait plus facile si nous disposions de vaccins de deuxième génération qui pourraient fournir une immunité à long terme et une meilleure protection contre les infections « percées », mais il n’est pas clair si un vaccin contre le coronavirus peut le faire, étant donné que même l’infection ne le fait pas.

Alors que nous considérons l'objectif plus élevé de l'élimination, à court terme, nous devons viser simplement le contrôle : la réduction de l'incidence à un niveau acceptable, grâce à des efforts délibérés. Cela aura un coût, probablement plus élevé que celui avec lequel de nombreux experts en santé publique sont à l'aise, des milliers de décès dus au COVID-19 chaque année et des résultats chroniques supplémentaires, tels que le long COVID. Heureusement, la combinaison de la vaccination, de l'immunité induite par l'infection et de nouveaux traitements devrait réduire le risque d'infection grave et de décès par COVID au fil du temps. Une vaccination annuelle peut être nécessaire pour maintenir une immunité élevée et pour répondre à toute variation du virus en circulation, comme dans le cas de la grippe. Certaines personnes peuvent également choisir de porter des masques en période d'infections accrues.

Nous devons être honnêtes sur ce à quoi nous attendre pour aller de l'avant. Le spectre de COVID-19 sera probablement toujours là, mais avec des interventions, il peut être déjoué. Il est peu probable que cela annonce le « retour à la normale » que tant de gens souhaitent désespérément – ​​mais les illusions d'éradication non plus.

).i.l=1*nouvelle date();a=s.createElement(o),rnm=s.getElementsByTagName(o);a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a.document,'script','https://www./analytics.js','ga');rnga('create', 'UA-8526335-13',:;rnga('set', 'anonymizeIp', true);rnga('set', 'forceSSL', true);rnga('require', 'displayfeatures');rnga('send','pageview');/script>rn","google_analytics" :null,"tracking_scripts_no_cookie" :null,"google_analytics_no_cookie" :null,"popular_searches" :,"search_topics" :,"search_sections" :,"search_authors" :,"$ROOT_QUERY.options" :::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf","typename" :, "__typename" :,"$ROOT_QUERY."will-we-ever-eradicate-covid-19-20211130","type".data.0.acf" ::"","page_accent_color" :null,"page_text_color" :null,"page_background_color" :null,"header_type" :"default","header_gradient_color" :null, "header_gradient_opacity" :null,"header_solid_colors" :"","header_solid_primary_color" :null,"header_solid_second_color" :null,"header_solid_hover_color" :null,"header_transparent_colors" :null,"header_transparent_primary_color" :null,"header_null_second_color" : "header_transparent_hover_color" :null,"__typename" :,"$ROOT_QUERY."will-we-ever-eradicate-covid-19-20211130","type ".data.0" :::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$ROOT_QUERY."va-nous-jamais-éradiquer-covid-19-20211130","type".data.0.acf","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$ROOT_QUERY."will-we- ever-eradicate-covid-19-20211130","type" :::,"__typename" :,"$ROOT_QUERY."will-we-ever-eradicate-covid-19-20211130","type" :::null,"meta" :"nu003c ! -- Démarrer le framework SEO par Sybre Waaijer -->nu003cmeta name="description" content=" Peu importe à quel point nous aimerions éradiquer le SRAS-CoV-2, il peut être préférable de se contenter d'autres formes de contrôle." />

rnu003cmeta property="og :image" content= "https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_1200_social.jpg" />

rnu003cmeta property="og :locale" content="en_US" />

rnu003cmeta property="og :type" content="article" />

Quanta Magazine" />

rnu003cmeta property="og :description" content="Peu importe à quel point nous aimerions éradiquer le SARS-CoV-2, il vaut peut-être mieux se contenter d'autres formes de contrôle." />

rnu003cmeta property="og :url" content="https://www.quantamagazine.org/will-we-ever-eradicate-covid-19-20211130/ " />

rnu003cmeta property="og :site_name" content="Quanta Magazine" />

rnu003cmeta property="article :publisher" content="https  : //www.facebook.com//>

rnu003cmeta property="fb :app_id" content="533309373681765" />

rnu003cmeta property="article :published_time " content="2021-11-30T11 :00-05 :00" />

rnu003cmeta property="article :modified_time" content="2021-12-02T12 :39-05  : 00" />

rnu003cmeta property="og :updated_time" content="2021-12-02T12 :39-05 :00" />

rnu003cmeta name="twitter :card" content="summary_large_image" />

rnu003cmeta name="twitter :/>

Quanta Magazine" />

rnu003cmeta name="twitter :description" content="Peu importe à quel point nous aimerions éradiquer le SARS-CoV-2, il vaut peut-être mieux se contenter d'autres formes de contrôle." />

rnu003cmeta name="twitter :image" content="https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_1200_social.jpg" / >rnu003clink rel="canonical" href="https://www.quantamagazine.org/will-we-ever-eradicate-covid-19-20211130/" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank" />

Quanta Magazine","max_num_pages" :0,"author" ::"id","generated" :false,"id" :"Author :null","typename" :,"tag" ::"id","generated" :false,"id" :"Term :null","typename" :,"category" ::"id","generated" :false,"id" :"Term :null","typename" :,"__typename" :,"Author :null" ::null,"name" :null,"link" :null,"description" :null,"url" :null,"public_email" :null,"facebook" :null,"twitter" :null,"instagram" :null,"acf" :null,"__typename" :,"Term :null" ::null,"slug" :null,"name" :null,"link" :null,"description" :null,"image" :"","__typename" :,"Post:110661" ::"110661","title" :"Will We Ever Get Rid of COVID-19?","excerpt" :"u003cp>No matter how much we’d like to eradicate SARS-CoV-2, it may be better to settle for other forms of control.u003c/p>n","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/will-we-ever-eradicate-covid-19-20211130/","slug" :"will-we-ever-eradicate-covid-19-20211130","disqus" :"110661 https://www.quantamagazine.org/?p=110661","date" :"2021-11-30T11 :00 :35","featured_media_image" :null,"authors" :,"tags" :,:null,"acf" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf","typename" :,"__typename" :"Post","status" :"publish","content" :"","categories" :,"attachments" :null,"series_prev" :null,"series_next" :null,"next" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.next","typename" :,"Post:110661.authors.0" ::"Tara C. Smith","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/authors/tara-smith/","__typename" :"Author","acf" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.authors.0.acf","typename" :,"Post:110661.tags.0" ::"biology","__typename" :"Term","name" :"biology","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/biology/,"Post:110661.tags.1" ::"covid-19","__typename" :"Term","name" :"COVID-19","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/covid-19/,"Post:110661.tags.2" ::"explainers","__typename" :"Term","name" :"explainers","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/explainers/,"Post:110661.tags.3" ::"immunology","__typename" :"Term","name" :"immunology","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/immunology/,"Post:110661.tags.4" ::"infectious-disease","__typename" :"Term","name" :"infectious disease","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/infectious-disease/,"Post:110661.tags.5" ::"physiology","__typename" :"Term","name" :"physiology","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/physiology/,"Post:110661.tags.6" ::"quantized","__typename" :"Term","name" :"Quantized Columns","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/quantized/,"Post:110661.tags.7" ::"viruses","__typename" :"Term","name" :"viruses","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/viruses/,"$Post:110661.acf" ::"","kicker" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.kicker","typename" :,"featured_image_default" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.featured_image_default","typename" :,"featured_image_full_width" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.featured_image_full_width","typename" :,"featured_image_gif" :false,"featured_video" :"false","full_page_interactive" :false,:"","__typename" :"ACFFields","interactive_type" :null,"iframe_url" :null,"return_cursor" :null,"exclude_blurb" :null,"interactive_html" :null,"interactive_css" :null,"interactive_js" :null,"interactive_blurb" :null,"related_article" :null,"modules" :,"template" :"article","subtitle" :"No matter how much we’d like to eradicate SARS-CoV-2, it may be better to settle for other forms of control.","title_layout" :"default","title_background_type" :null,"title_background_image" :null,"title_background_video" :null,"title_background_attribution" :null,"title_background_image_gif" :null,"title_overlay_enable" :null,"title_overlay_color" :null,"title_overlay_opacity" :null,"title_text_color" :null,"featured_image_attribution" :"u003cp>Maggie Chiang for Quanta Magazineu003c/p>n","featured_overlay_enable" :"false","featured_overlay_color" :null,"featured_overlay_opacity" :null,"series" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.series","typename" :,"intro_content" :null,"make_image_full_width" :null,"hide_ad_on_post" :,"$Post:110661.acf.kicker" ::"Quantized Columns","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/quantized/","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.featured_image_default" ::"","caption" :"","url" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_520x292.jpg","width" :520,"height" :292,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.featured_image_default.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.featured_image_default.sizes" ::"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_520x292-520x292.jpg","square_small" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_520x292-160x160.jpg","square_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_520x292-520x292.jpg","medium" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_520x292.jpg","medium_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_520x292.jpg","large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_520x292.jpg","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.featured_image_full_width" ::"","caption" :"","url" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_HPA.jpg","width" :2880,"height" :1220,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.featured_image_full_width.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.featured_image_full_width.sizes" ::"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_HPA-520x220.jpg","square_small" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_HPA-160x160.jpg","square_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_HPA-520x520.jpg","medium" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_HPA-1720x729.jpg","medium_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_HPA-768x325.jpg","large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_HPA-2880x1220.jpg","__typename" :,"Term :191" ::"191","name" :"Biology","slug" :"biology","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/biology/","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.authors.0.acf" ::"Contributing Columnist","avatar" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.authors.0.acf.avatar","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.authors.0.acf.avatar" ::"","caption" :"","url" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Smith_Tara.jpg","width" :1000,"height" :1000,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.authors.0.acf.avatar.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.authors.0.acf.avatar.sizes" ::"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Smith_Tara-520x520.jpg","square_small" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Smith_Tara-160x160.jpg","square_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Smith_Tara-520x520.jpg","medium" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Smith_Tara.jpg","medium_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Smith_Tara-768x768.jpg","large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Smith_Tara.jpg","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0" ::null,"acf_fc_layout" :"image_component","layout" :"large","settings" :"","attribution" :"u003cp>Maggie Chiang for Quanta Magazineu003c/p>n","caption" :"","mobile_comp_caption" :"","mobile_comp_attribution" :"","sets" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0" ::"","image" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.image","typename" :,"mobile_image" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_image","typename" :,"mobile_side_margins" :false,"mobile_width_constraint" :"","mobile_caption" :"","mobile_attribution" :"","zoom_image" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.zoom_image","typename" :,"zoom_caption" :"","zoom_attribution" :"","mobile_zoom_image" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image","typename" :,"mobile_zoom_caption" :"","mobile_zoom_attribution" :"","external_link" :"","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.image" ::"","caption" :"","url" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_2560_Lede.jpg","width" :2560,"height" :1440,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.image.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.image.sizes" ::"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_2560_Lede-520x293.jpg","square_small" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_2560_Lede-160x160.jpg","square_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_2560_Lede-520x520.jpg","medium" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_2560_Lede-1720x968.jpg","medium_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_2560_Lede-768x432.jpg","large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/COVID-Eradication_2560_Lede.jpg","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_image" ::null,"caption" :null,"url" :null,"width" :null,"height" :null,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_image.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_image.sizes" ::null,"square_small" :null,"square_large" :null,"medium" :null,"medium_large" :null,"large" :null,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.zoom_image" ::null,"caption" :null,"url" :null,"width" :null,"height" :null,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.zoom_image.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.zoom_image.sizes" ::null,"square_small" :null,"square_large" :null,"medium" :null,"medium_large" :null,"large" :null,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image" ::null,"caption" :null,"url" :null,"width" :null,"height" :null,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image.sizes" ::null,"square_small" :null,"square_large" :null,"medium" :null,"medium_large" :null,"large" :null,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.modules.1" ::null,"acf_fc_layout" :"content_area","show_sidebars" :true,"content" :"u003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">As the end of the year approaches, we are nearing u003c/span>u003ca href="https://promedmail.org/promed-post/?id=20191230.6864153" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">the two-year anniversaryu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;"> of the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, over 5 million have died, and that’s almost u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.abc.net.au//2021-11-01/five-million-covid19-deaths-but-real-toll-hidden/100568156" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">certainly an undercountu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">, especially in countries that still lack the resources to properly test and vaccinate their populations. The U.S. has reported more than 750,000 COVID-19 deaths, and we’ve seen four surges of cases since early 2020, hoping that each would be our last. Just last week, scientists detected a heavily mutated new variant, u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.who.int//item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Omicronu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">. We still don’t know enough to tell.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Everyone is ready for the pandemic to be over, but it’s still unclear what that would look like. How likely are we to eradicate the virus? What would that really mean, and what will the world look like if we can’t? u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">While there is much we still don’t know about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, we have learned enough to answer some of these questions. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cdiv id='component-61bdc77bcf91b' comment=''>u003cscript type="text/:"Text","id" :"component-61bdc77bcf91b","data" ::"u003ch2>Quantized Columnsu003c\/h2>\nu003cp>A regular column in which top researchers explore the process of discovery. This month\u2019s columnist, Tara C. Smith, is a professor of epidemiology and infectious-disease researcher.u003c\/p>\nu003chr \/>

\nu003cp>u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.quantamagazine.org\/tag\/quantized\/\">See all Quantized Columnsu003c\/a>u003c\/p>\n","alignment" :"right","divider" :/script>u003c/div>nu003ch2>u003cb>Can we eradicate COVID-19? u003c/b>u003c/h2>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Some people think so. Advocates of a campaign to eradicate the virus cite the high costs of an endemic SARS-CoV-2 virus, both in terms of health and as an ongoing economic issue. To date, over 250 million infections have been confirmed globally with over 5 million deaths, and absent any intervention, economists have estimated that COVID-19 infections would cost the U.S. u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8186726/" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">$1.4 trillion by 2030u003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">. Even with the vaccines, COVID-19 will still be exceedingly costly in the coming years on multiple fronts.  u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">And it’s true that once a pathogen is eradicated, mitigation measures can be reduced or eliminated. We no longer vaccinate the general public for smallpox (though we do maintain a military smallpox vaccination program due to the potential for bioterrorism). One medical journal has suggested that eradication of SARS-CoV-2 should not be ruled out, and that it could be about as challenging asu003c/span>u003ca href="https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/8/e006810" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank"> u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">our ongoing polio eradication effortsu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">I disagree. The epidemiology of the virus makes eradication unlikely. Investing in a campaign to do so would be a misuse of limited resources, and the failure of a high-profile eradication campaign could make other levels of control more difficult.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003ch2>u003cb>What’s the difference between eradication, extinction and elimination of a virus?u003c/b>u003c/h2>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Eradication means that the virus is completely extinguished in nature. We’ve actually achieved this with u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-smallpox-is-no-more-but-polio-and-other-diseases-persist-20191203/" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">smallpox in humansu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;"> and rinderpest in animals. Extinction goes further and includes the destruction of any samples in laboratory stocks as well. This has not yet happened for any pathogen, for many reasons that are primarily political rather than scientific : above all, the mutual distrust between the U.S. and Russia, who each hold remaining stocks of the virus.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Eradication is sometimes confused with elimination. While eradication refers to the global extermination of the virus (except in labs), elimination refers to a more limited form of control, where new infections within particular countries are reduced to zero. In the U.S. we have done this with other viruses including the ones causing measles, rubella (German measles) and polio. While we have had recent outbreaks of measles. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Maintaining elimination is difficult. The U.S. which eliminated measles, almost lost that status due to u003c/span>u003ca href="https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/222/7/1117/5782424" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">a 2019 epidemicu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;"> that sent cases surging globally (primarily because of outbreaks among the unvaccinated). u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003ch2>u003cb>What makes COVID-19 so resistant to eradication?u003c/b>u003c/h2>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">A candidate for eradication will typically possess three qualities: an effective intervention that can stop transmission, readily available diagnostic tools that can rapidly detect infection, and a lack of the disease among nonhuman animals. COVID-19 fails on all three counts. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">We think approximately u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.pnas.org/content/118/34/e2109229118" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">35% of COVID-19 infections are asymptomaticu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">. That complicates control of spread and diagnosis. For every symptomatic case, many other infections have almost certainly occurred that went unnoticed. To find them, we would need to build up extensive surveillance programs (as we’ve done in the campaign to eradicate polio), examining human cases as well as samples of sewage to determine if the virus is circulating in a community. It’s hard to interrupt transmission if you don’t even know the disease is there. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">And even for symptomatic cases, diagnosis is fraught. Unlike smallpox, which had very distinct symptoms that could readily distinguish it from other rash-causing viruses, COVID-19 causes symptoms that can be similar in presentation to those of influenza and other respiratory viruses, meaning rapid, accurate, widespread and affordable testing are critical to confirm cases.   u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Finally, the disease is currently circulating among multiple species of animals besides humans, with no end in sight.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003ch2>u003cb>What do other animals have to do with our eradication efforts?u003c/b>u003c/h2>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Smallpox, measles and polio are all caused by human-specific viruses; they do not infect other animals, and so they’re easier targets for eradication. SARS-CoV-2, by contrast, is u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-do-animal-viruses-like-coronavirus-jump-species-20200225/" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">a zoonotic pathogenu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;"> that originated from an as-yet-unknown species, probably a bat. This means there is already a nonhuman reservoir of the virus in nature. Following its spread to humans, researchers have identified SARS-CoV-2 in many other animal species, including u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis//stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/sa-2021/sa-09/covid-ferret" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">ferretsu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">, u003c/span>u003ca href="https://.georgiaaquarium.org/stories/releases-20210418" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">ottersu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">, u003c/span>u003ca href="https://nam11.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.biorxiv.org%2Fcontent%2F10.1101%2F2021.10.31.466677v1%3Fs%3D03&data=04%7C01%7Ctsmit176%40kent.edu%%%7C1%7C0%7C637714684537849882%7CUnknown%%3D%7C2000&sdata=%3D&reserved=0" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">white-tailed deeru003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">, u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.npr.org/2021/09/14/1037164815/atlanta-gorillas-covid" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">gorillasu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">, u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/what-the-mink-coronavirus-pandemic-has-taught-us" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">minku003c/span>u003c/a> u003ca href="https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/animals-covid-19.html" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">andu003c/span>u003c/a> u003ca href="https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis//stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/sa-2021/sa-10/covid-binturong-fishing-cat" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">moreu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">These animal infections complicate eradication efforts, because there will always be sources of the virus that could reintroduce it into humans. Animal-to-human transmission may be infrequent (though u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abe5901# :~ :text=Toward%20the%20end%20of%20June,to%2Dhuman%20transmission%20also%20occurred" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">mink-to-human transmissionu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;"> has already been documented), but it only takes a single event to bring the virus back into an area where it has been eliminated. Each new chain of transmission needs to be stopped if eradication or elimination is the long-term goal.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003ch2>u003cb>What about vaccines? u003c/b>u003c/h2>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Vaccines have been a great method of interrupting transmission, but the current vaccines for COVID-19 simply aren’t as effective as vaccines for smallpox, measles and polio. COVID-19 vaccines reduce transmission if vaccinated individuals are infected, but they do not completely eliminate it. Again, this makes eradication much more challenging.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cdiv id='component-61bdc77bd456f' comment=''>u003cscript type="text/:"Article","id" :"component-61bdc77bd456f","data" :::100524,"title" :"How to Understand COVID-19 Variants and Their Effects on Vaccines","link" :"https:\/\/www.quantamagazine.org\/how-to-understand-covid-19-variants-and-their-effects-on-vaccines-20210225\/","date" :"February 25, 2021","featured_media_image" ::"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","width" :520,"height" :292,"sizes" ::"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292-520x292.jpg","medium" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","medium_large" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","large" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","square_small" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292-160x160.jpg","square_large" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292-520x292."acf" ::"","featured_image_default" ::100720,"id" :100720,"title" :"COVID-variants_520x292","filename" :"COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","filesize" :42334,"url" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","link" :"https:\/\/www.quantamagazine.org\/how-to-understand-covid-19-variants-and-their-effects-on-vaccines-20210225\/covid-variants_520x292\/","alt" :"","author" :"13691","description" :"u003ca href=\"http:\/\/www.hellomaggiec.com\/\">Maggie Chiangu003c\/a>\u00a0for Quanta Magazine","caption" :"","name" :"covid-variants_520x292","status" :"inherit","uploaded_to" :100524,"date" :"2021-02-24 23 :14 :08","modified" :"2021-02-24 23 :14 :45","menu_order" :0,"mime_type" :"image\/jpeg","type" :"image","subtype" :"jpeg","icon" :"https:\/\/api.quantamagazine.org\/wp-includes\/images\/media\/default.png","width" :520,"height" :292,"sizes" ::"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292-520x292.jpg","medium" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","medium_large" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","large" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292.jpg","square_small" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292-160x160.jpg","square_large" :"https:\/\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\/uploads\/2021\/02\/COVID-variants_520x292-520x292."kicker" ::"Quantized Columns","link" :"https:\/\/www.quantamagazine.org\/tag\/quantized\/,"authors" :/script>u003c/div>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">An additional issue is u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-to-understand-covid-19-variants-and-their-effects-on-vaccines-20210225/" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">variantsu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">. The viruses that cause measles, smallpox and polio have less genetic diversity, so variants can generally be neutralized by vaccine-induced immunity. With SARS-CoV-2, we’re not yet sure how much of an impact variants will have, but it is at least u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-021-00573-0" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">theoretically possibleu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;"> that a variant will emerge that can completely escape the immunity brought on by vaccination or previous infection. (Tests are currently underway with the Omicron variant to determine if it has the ability to escape from antibodies generated against prior variants.) Mutations in the virus’s spike protein, which binds to the host’s cells and is what the immune system recognizes, could result in changes to the protein’s amino acid sequence. If these changes hit in the right places, they could alter the protein to such a degree that our antibodies will bind to it less tightly or no longer recognize the protein.  u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">There’s also the issue of waning immunity over time. Vaccination for polio, smallpox and measles results in long-term, potentially lifelong, immunity. With coronaviruses in general, we know that u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2271881/" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">immunity can wane rapidlyu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">, leaving individuals susceptible to reinfection. We are already witnessing this now with SARS-CoV-2, in both vaccinated and previously infected individuals. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">The solution to these issues is simply additional vaccinations, but that requires a regular, global vaccine campaign that would have to surpass vaccination efforts in 2021, which themselves only came about with emergency funding and have still left many unvaccinated, either because they declined the vaccine or because it’s not yet available to them. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003ch2>u003cb>Are there other reasons to be skeptical about SARS-CoV-2 eradication? u003c/b>u003c/h2>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">While discussion of the pathogen’s biology may dominate when we look at eradication potential, that is only one aspect of the issue. Potentially more difficult are political and economic considerations. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cdiv id='component-61bdc77bd568f' comment='related-list'>u003cscript type="text/:"LinkList","id" :"component-61bdc77bd568f","data" ::"Related :","class" :"related-list","links" :/script>u003c/div>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">Eradication is a global enterprise. Interventions must be globally available and affordable, and there must be agreement among nations that eradication is not only possible but necessary. Reaching such an agreement would be facilitated by the u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.who.int/about/governance/world-health-assembly" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">World Health Assemblyu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">, the World Health Organization’s decision-making body. It is here that any campaign must begin, as delegates are the first to decide if eradication is feasible, if it’s a good use of resources, if all countries would value it enough to contribute, and so on.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003ch2>u003cb>What do we do instead?u003c/b>u003c/h2>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">While eradication is unlikely, we have other options. but even that would require many years of sustained work. Elimination would be easier if we had second-generation vaccines that could provide long-term immunity and better protection from “breakthrough” infections, but it’s unclear if any coronavirus vaccine can do this, given that even infection does not. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">As we consider the loftier goal of elimination, in the short term we must aim simply for control : reduction of incidence to an acceptable level, due to deliberate efforts. This will come at a cost, probably a higher one than many public health experts are comfortable with, of thousands of COVID-19 deaths each year and additional chronic outcomes, such as u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.quantamagazine.org/long-covid-how-it-keeps-us-sick-20210701/" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">long COVIDu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">. Luckily, the combination of vaccination, infection-induced immunity and u003c/span>u003ca href="https://www.healthline.com//pfizer-antiviral-drug-may-be-90-effective-against-severe-covid-19-what-to-know" rel=" noreferrer" target="_blank">u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">novel treatmentsu003c/span>u003c/a>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;"> should reduce the risk of serious infection and death from COVID over time. Annual vaccination may be necessary to keep immunity high and to respond to any variations in circulating virus, as with influenza. Some individuals may also choose to wear masks in times of increased infections. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan comment="font-weight: 400;">We need to be honest about what to expect moving forward. The specter of COVID-19 will likely always be here, but with interventions it can be defanged. u003c/span>u003c/p>n","fadein" :false,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.acf.series" ::null,"link" :null,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.next.data.0" ::"Wildfires of Varying Intensity Can Be Good for Biodiversity","link" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/wildfires-of-varying-intensity-can-be-good-for-biodiversity-20211129/","categories" :,"featured_media_image" :null,"acf" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.next.data.0.categories.0" ::"biology","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf" ::"article","featured_block_title" :"","featured_image_gif" :false,"featured_image_default" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_default","typename" :,"featured_image_full_width" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_full_width","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_default" :.","caption" :"The night sky glows with the light of a forest fire in the Blue Mountains of Australia. Landscapes around the world have always been shaped by fires, and researchers are beginning to understand more about how they contribute to biodiversity.n","url" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_520x292.jpg","width" :520,"height" :292,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_default.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_default.sizes" ::"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_520x292-520x292.jpg","square_small" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_520x292-160x160.jpg","square_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_520x292-520x292.jpg","medium" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_520x292.jpg","medium_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_520x292.jpg","large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_520x292.jpg","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_full_width" :.","caption" :"The night sky glows with the light of a forest fire in the Blue Mountains of Australia. Landscapes around the world have always been shaped by fires, and researchers are beginning to understand more about how they contribute to biodiversity.n","url" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_2880_HPA.jpg","width" :2880,"height" :1220,"sizes" ::"id","generated" :true,"id" :"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_full_width.sizes","typename" :,"__typename" :,"$Post:110661.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_full_width.sizes" ::"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_2880_HPA-520x220.jpg","square_small" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_2880_HPA-160x160.jpg","square_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_2880_HPA-520x520.jpg","medium" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_2880_HPA-1720x729.jpg","medium_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_2880_HPA-768x325.jpg","large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2021/11/Australia-Forest-Fire_2880_HPA-2880x1220.jpg","__typename" :,"$Post:110661.next" ::,"__typename" :,"settings" ::,:"https://quantamagazine.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=&id=f0cb61321c",:"http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=&id=f0cb61321c","sfNotice" :"An editorially independent publication supported by the Simons Foundation.","commentsHeader" :"Quanta Magazine moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

n","itunesSubscribe" :"https://itunes.apple.com/us///id1021340531?mt=2&ls=1","androidSubscribe" :"https://.google.com/feed/","spotifySubscribe" :"https://open.spotify.com/show/","itunesJoyOfX" :"https://.apple.com/us//the-joy-of-x/id1495067186","androidJoyOfX" :"https://.google.com/feed/","spotifyJoyOfX" :"https://open.spotify.com/show/","popularSearches" :,"searchTopics" :,"searchSections" :,"searchAuthors" :,"adBehavior" :"everywhere","adUrl" :"https://www.quantamagazine.org/gift-store","adAlt" :"Give the gifts of science and math this holiday season.","adImageHome" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2020/12/2020Holiday_Web-Default_260x384.gif","adImageArticle" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2020/12/2020Holiday_Article_160x300.gif","adImageTablet" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2020/12/2020Holiday_Tablet_1780.jpg","adImageMobile" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2020/12/2020Holiday_Web-Default_260x384.gif","trackingScripts" :,"theme" :::"#ff8600","text" :"#1a1a1a","background" :,"header" ::"default","gradient" ::,"solid" ::"#1a1a1a","secondary" :"#999999","hover" :,"transparent" ::"white","secondary" :"white","hover" :,"redirect" :null,"fallbackImage" ::"","caption" :"","url" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default.gif","width" :1200,"height" :600,"sizes" ::"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default-520x260.gif","square_small" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default-160x160.gif","square_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default-520x520.gif","medium" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default.gif","medium_large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default-768x384.gif","large" :"https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default.gif","__typename" :,"__typename" :,"modals" ::false,"signUpModal" :false,"forgotPasswordModal" :false,"resetPasswordModal" :false,"lightboxModal" :false,"callback" :null,"props" :,::null,"playing" :false,"duration" :0,"currentTime" :,"user" ::false,"savedArticleIDs" :,"userEmail" :"","editor" :,"comments" ::,"cookies" ::,

env :

APP_URL : 'https://www.quantamagazine.org',

NODE_ENV : 'production',

WP_URL : 'https://api.quantamagazine.org',

HAS_GOOGLE_ID : true,

HAS_FACEBOOK_ID : true,