Other Known Coronaviruses Are Seasonal

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Monto

Arnold S. Monto, M.D.
Professor, Epidemiology
Professor, Global Public Health
Thomas Francis, Jr. Collegiate Professor of Public Health
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This is part of a continuing study in families first designed to examine how influenza vaccine is working in the community  We have expanded it to look broadly at all respiratory viruses

There are 4 coronaviruses which are known to cause respiratory illnesses each year and we had these data ready to go when the pandemic started.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response:  These viruses seem to behave in some ways like other respiratory viruses, with highest rates of infection in young children  However, the infection rates are mainly level as age increases which is somewhat unusual.  The illnesses are mainly mild, withe only about 20% causing a physician consultation

In addition, in Michigan, they are sharply seasonal, with most infectious taking place each year from December to April. This is much more regular than even influenza.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Although these viruses are related virologically to the Covid19 virus, they mainly cause mild diseases  It is impossible to say whether their sharp seasonality in any way will also  be seen with the pandemic virus.  This adds to the mainly questions now being considered about how the current pandemic will evolve.

MedicalResearch.com: What else should we watch for?

 Response: Mitigation strategies in Asia have worked, and no cases are occurring in some places, other than those imported from hot spots  We need to realize that it is very difficult to predict what will happen with this virus long term,given the lack of real precedent.

No conflicts  All work NIH funded


Joshua G Petrie, Emily T Martin, Ryan E Malosh, Skylar Capriola, Latifa A Bazzi, Amy P Callear, Peter DeJonge, Arnold S Monto. Coronavirus occurrence and transmission over 8 years in the HIVE cohort of households in Michigan. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa161




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Last Updated on May 12, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD