The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may never go away from human existence.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Emergencies Director, stated that the COVID-19 maybe like the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) found regularly in humans.
He warned against trying to predict when the virus would disappear, saying he does not believe “anyone can predict when this disease will disappear”.
“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.
“HIV has not gone away – but we have come to terms with the virus. We’ve come to terms with the virus and we have found the therapies and we have found the prevention methods, and people don’t feel as scared as they did before.
The WHO Director added that even if a vaccine is found, controlling the virus will require a “massive effort”.
He said: “We may have a shot at eliminating this virus but that vaccine will have to be available, it will have to be highly effective, it will have to be made available to everyone and we’ll have to use it.
“I’m not comparing the two diseases but I think it is important that we’re realistic. I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear.
“This disease may settle into a long-term problem or it may not be.”
Over 4.4 million people worldwide have contracted COVID-19, with nearly 300,000 people said to have been killed by the virus as of Wednesday.