The UN specialized agency – the World Health Organisation has now warned that coronavirus “may never go away” and stated that the disease could become endemic like HIV, reports BBC.
Speaking at a virtual briefing on Wednesday, WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan cautioned against predicting how long the coronavirus be active as he urged countries to put a “massive effort” to counter the pandemic.
“It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away,” WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan said.
Dr. Mike Ryan, the head of the World Health Organization emergencies program, said that the novel coronavirus may become ‘another endemic virus in our communities’ and ‘may never go away’ https://t.co/vnfbFP3LDr pic.twitter.com/vUDJaGMHDn— Reuters (@Reuters) May 14, 2020
Mike Ryan added, “I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear. I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be.”
Ryan added, “It is a vicious cycle of public health disasters followed by economic disasters. This virus may never go away. HIV has not gone away. But we have come to terms with the virus. We have developed therapies, prevention methods. People are not as afraid of HIV as they used to be earlier. We are offering long, healthy lives to people with HIV. I am not comparing the two diseases. But it is important to be realistic”.
Noting that there are currently more than 100 potential vaccines in development, Dr Ryan said there are other illnesses, such as measles, that still have not been eliminated despite having vaccines for them.
He added, “We do have a one-way shot, of developing a highly effective vaccine. But we have to make that vaccine available to everyone, then only we will have a shot at eliminating this disease.”
It is possible to control the virus: WHO DG Tedros
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is facing heat for his failure to contain the Chinese pandemic and is accused of misleading the world, stressed it was still possible to control the virus, with effort.
“The trajectory is in our hands, and it’s everybody’s business, and we should all contribute to stop this pandemic,” he said.
Dr Tedros warned that there was no guaranteed way of easing restrictions without triggering a second wave of infections.