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Coronavirus hopes and fears centre on 'immunity'

Coronavirus hopes and fears centre on 'immunity'

Could exposure to the coronaviruses that cause the common cold help protect against Covid-19? Is herd immunity closer than previously thought?

As nations lift lockdowns and experts worry about a potential second peak in cases, our ability to ward off infection is one of the hottest topics of scientific debate.

Ever since it became apparent that children were less vulnerable to Covid-19 early in the pandemic, scientists have speculated that the regular spread of benign viruses in places like schools could have bolstered their immune response to the latest coronavirus.

Now the idea of "cross immunity" among the broader population is gaining some ground.

In a recent post on Twitter, Francois Balloux of University College London noted an "intriguing" lack of an immediate resurgence in Covid-19 cases following the easing of lockdowns in several countries.

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