COVID-19 is impossible to disappear since animals can also become hosts for the virus
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Eradicating COVID-19 completely will be impossible since apart from humans, animals can also get infected with the virus, an epidemiologist from Australia's Griffith University, Dicky Budiman, has opined.

"COVID-19 is impossible to disappear since animals can also become hosts for the virus. When we try to suppress the virus spread through vaccination, it can go back to its origin host, which is an animal," Budiman elaborated during the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) dialogue on Monday.

Currently, there are many reports regarding COVID-19 transmission in domestic animals such as cats, dogs, and hamsters, he noted.

Therefore, efforts to control disease transmission and maintain human health must be aligned with efforts to maintain environmental and animal health, he said.

"The relevant agencies must also take part in this effort," Budiman added.

Another challenge to eradicating COVID-19 is the large number of asymptomatic cases, he said.

Nearly 90 percent of patients infected with the Omicron variant have shown no symptoms or only experienced mild symptoms, he added.

"This is a big challenge in the midst of limited testing. Moreover, our society has a habit of self-treating without going to the hospital. This makes it more difficult to control the spread of COVID-19," he remarked.

He also pointed out that the coronavirus is an RNA virus, meaning that it can mutate quickly.

"In one human there can be billions of mutations. Every week there is a new strain," he informed.

The mutation process produces new variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, he said. Each mutation has its own transmission characteristics, he added.

"Omicron is dominating because it can circulate in vaccinated and unvaccinated people, while the Delta variant mostly infects unvaccinated people," he said.

Transmission of the coronavirus mostly occurs through air circulation, according to Budiman. Therefore, environmental health must also be considered, he said.

"COVID-19 is dominated by airborne transmission. Efforts to improve air quality with good ventilation and technology would be very helpful," he added.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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