Coronavirus may hit like HIV,never go away: WHO

Calling for a “massive effort” to counter the coronavirus pandemic, World Health Oraganization emergency expert Mike Ryan has said that Covid-19 could become an endemic like HIV which would threaten the world  for a longtime now. “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,” Mike Ryan told an online briefing.

“I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear,” he added. “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.”

Although it would take a “massive effort” to counter the pandemic even if a vaccine was found which he described as a “massive moonshot”. However, he said the world had some control over how it coped with the disease.

Ryan pointed out that although vaccines are existing for other illnesses, such as measles and that have not been eliminated may be the case with Covid-19 as more than 100 potential vaccines are being developed, including several in clinical trials, according to experts  none of them might be effective against coroanvirus.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added: “The trajectory is in our hands, and it’s everybody’s business, and we should all contribute to stop this pandemic.”

Ryan said “very significant control” of the virus was required in order to lower the assessment of risk, which he said remained high at the “national, regional and global levels”.

Ryan said opening land borders was less risky than easing air travel, which was a “different challenge”.

“We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic,” WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove told the briefing.