Global public health officials are warning that the coronavirus could take years to be fully contained.
“I would say in a four- to five-year time frame; we could be looking at controlling this,” World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, revealed to a Financial Times conference on Wednesday. He also went on to warn that the pandemic could “potentially get worse” before it shows any sign of getting better.
These latest revelations come as scientists are working to develop a vaccine. However, the vaccine will still require development time and trial distribution on a mass scale in order to know its effectiveness. As we have seen with other diseases such as the seasonal flu and measles, a vaccine does not spell out a cure, but a preventive measure. Once a vaccine is developed and clears the trials, the next major task will be how to provide it safely and effectively in a large quantity, which will also take months.
“We have a new virus entering the human pop for the first time, and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it,” Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s emergency program, said at a press conference on Wednesday. “This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities. This virus may never go away. HIV has never gone away.”
He went on to add, “It is important that we be realistic, and I don’t think anyone can predict whether this virus will disappear.”