The new coronavirus is likely to become as “endemic” as the annual flu virus, and a vaccine may not be able to eradicate Covid-19, according to the UK’s leading scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance.
“We cannot be sure, but I think it is unlikely that we will end up with a truly sterilizing vaccine, that is, that will stop the infection completely, and this disease is likely to circulate and be endemic, that is my best assessment,” he said. Patrick Vallance to the National Security Strategy Committee in London this Monday.
“As the management of the pandemic becomes better and as a vaccine decreases the likelihood of infection and the severity of the disease, then it will start to look more like an annual flu than anything else. This may be the direction we are going, ”he added, quoted by CNBC.
In other words, as we ‘normalize’ Covid-19, it can become endemic, that is, a frequent disease.
Vallance, who is also head of research and development for British pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline, warned that a vaccine against the new coronavirus is not likely to eradicate the virus completely, or forever.
“The notion of eliminating Covid-19 from anywhere is not correct, because it will come back,” he warned. There was only one human disease “truly eradicated” thanks to a highly effective vaccine – smallpox, he said.
Several pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and academic bodies around the world have joined forces to try to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus at an unprecedented rate.
Historically, creating a vaccine from scratch had taken, on average, ten years, said Vallance, and it had never taken less than five.
This Monday, the ‘milestone’ of 40 million confirmed cases was reached worldwide. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 1.1 million deaths from covid-19 have been reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“We are now in the extraordinary situation where there are at least eight vaccines that are in fairly large clinical studies around the world. We will know, in the coming months, if we have some vaccines that really protect and for how long they protect ”, he said.
Vallance concluded that he does not believe that a vaccine is available for widespread use in the community until at least spring 2021.