There is a possibility that the coronavirus will just become another epidemic in the communities of the world and “may never go away,” a top official at the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s executive director emergencies, was speaking at a videoconference from Geneva and was answering questions about projections for the longevity of the virus.
“I think it’s 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,” Ryan said.
“HIV has not gone away, we’ve come to terms with the virus. And we have found the therapies and we found the prevention methods, and people don’t feel as scared as they did before,” he added.
“I think it is important that we’re realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear,” the WHO official said.
He said that the one great hope is that if scientists do find a “highly effective vaccine” to distribute to everyone who needs it in the world, there may be a “shot at eliminating this virus”.
“But that vaccine will actually have to be available and to be highly effective, it will have to be made available to everyone,” Ryan said, noting that scientists can come up with a vaccine.
“Someone has got to make it and make enough of it so that everyone can get a dose of it.
“We’ve got to be able to deliver that. And people have got to want to take that vaccine. Every single one of those steps is fraught with challenges. It’s a massive opportunity for the world,” he added.