Professor Dr. Melanie Brinkmann and Professor Dr. Reinhold Förster summarised the past three years with SARS-CoV-2 and ventured a look into the future on 17 January at Herrenhausen Palace as part of Herrenhausen Late.

Looking back, they recalled the first warning from Chinese doctor Li Wengliang, who recognised the dangers of COVID-19 pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus variant SARS-CoV-2 as early as 2019. From there, they showed again how quickly the virus sequence was published and the PCR test was produced. They talked about lockdowns, the declaration of the pandemic and vaccine development, and they showed, among other things, what is known today about SARS-CoV-2 and the course of infection. Their presentations were as much about the “dance with the virus” as they were about the success story of vaccinations and mistakes in dealing with the pandemic.

“The pandemic is not over yet,” said Professor Brinkmann. The virus will stay with us, she said, and can always develop new strategies to evade our immune system. “We need to do more to be better prepared for the next pandemic.” The health system needs to be reformed, vaccines continuously developed and air hygiene improved – she listed as examples of what needs to be done. “Currently, there is good immune protection in the population,” Professor Förster said. But a second booster vaccination could be recommended by the STIKO for everyone. That would depend on which variants emerge and how well the vaccines can be adapted to the variants. Some of the approximately 100 members of the audience asked questions afterwards, before the evening ended with delicious cocktails.

You will find a report (in German language) on this event as soon as possible on the homepage of the Volkswagen Foundation, which you can access by clicking here.