Going by what pharmaceutical and public-health experts are saying, we will have to live with coronavirus for some years to come despite the vaccine. The virus will be like flu and other pathogens that we are battling with currently.
“We know this virus is not going away any time soon. It’s established itself and is going to keep on transmitting wherever it’s able to do so,” Hindustan Times (HT) reported Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying at the “How Covid-19 Is Reshaping the Global Healthcare Ecosystem” event hosted by Bloomberg Prognosis. “We know we have to live this.”
Humanity’s record against viruses is poor. Smallpox is the only virus fully driven out of existence in humans.
Managing the virus with vaccines and drugs
“I think what’s realistic to expect is that with a combination of drugs and vaccines we can get to a stable place where the pandemic is manageable,” said Novartis Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan. He called the actual elimination of the virus “unlikely,” HT reported.
Let us be realistic, the first round of inoculations will most likely go only to health workers and high-risk populations, with the general public having to wait until sometime next year to get a shot.
“The longer you wait, the more knowledge you’re going to have on the vaccine,” Narasimhan said in the HT report. ”With reasonable confidence, we could have a safe and effective vaccine before the end of next year that could be used broadly.”
In short, it is a very long road ahead – it is important to collect data on the trials; there is no clarity on the timeline of the trials; there can’t be early looks or ‘unbinding’ at the trials and more time is needed to find out if the trials are effective and how long the protection will last.