New Zealand scientists have assessed the possibility of a complete victory over COVID-19. The global eradication of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is feasible, although lesser than the smallpox virus. This is reported in an article published in the journal BMJ Global Health.

The eradication of COVID-19 is defined as reducing the incidence to zero worldwide as a result of deliberate efforts. The researchers analyzed the factors that helped defeat other viral diseases (smallpox and polio), including vaccines and technical, socio-political, and economic factors. Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, and two of the three serotypes of poliovirus were eliminated.

A total of 17 variables were evaluated according to a three-point system, including the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, lifelong immunity, the effectiveness of public health measures, state control over reports of the spread of infection, the concern of politicians and the public about the economic and social consequences of infection, as well as public recognition of infection control measures. The average (total) scores in the analysis were 2.7 (43/48) for smallpox, 1.6 (28/51) for COVID-19, and 1.5 (26/51) for polio.

Compared to smallpox and polio, there are technical challenges to eradicating COVID-19, including poor public acceptance of the vaccine and the emergence of new variants that can elude immunity. According to scientists, keeping the coronavirus in animal tanks may also hinder efforts to eradicate the infection, but this is not a serious problem. However, the fight against COVID-19 is facilitated by additional public health measures, including border control, social distancing, contact tracking, and wearing masks.