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COVID-19 could be present forever, says an expert

Posted August. 24, 2020 07:30,   

Updated August. 24, 2020 07:30


With the COVID-19 virus continuously spreading worldwide, a leading expert said the virus will continue to be present even if vaccines are developed.

“This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another… So, a bit like flu, people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals,” Professor Mark Walport, a member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, told the BBC in an interview on Saturday. “The COVID-19 situation could go out of control again.” Walport is considered a top immunology expert in the U.K.

Sir Walport said the coronavirus would not be a disease like smallpox, which could be eradicated by vaccination, suggesting there is a high chance that people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals. This is because the coronavirus constantly mutates just like influenza, and can transmit via vectors other than humans. Earlier on Friday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that he hopes the COVID-19 pandemic will end within two years.

The cumulative global death toll due to COVID-19 has topped 800,000. According to international statistics portal Worldometer, COVID-19 related deaths across the globe reached 808,713 as of 3 p.m. Sunday. More than half of the deaths have been reported in the four countries of the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and India. The virus is spreading so fast that the number of deaths doubled in just two and a half months after the number hit 400,000 (June 6), AFP reported.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com