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UK chief scientist skeptical that COVID-19 can be completely eradicated, “likely to become as “endemic” as regular flu

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Posted: Monday, November 2, 2020. 6:17 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Will COVID-19 ever go away?

A weary world that has asked this question for months is facing up to bad news: not likely, according to U.K.’s chief scientific advisor Patrick Vallance.

Speaking to the National Security Strategy Committee in London on Monday according to CNBC, Vallance added that none of the potential vaccines in late-stage critical trials are likely to eradicate the virus.

“The notion of eliminating Covid from anywhere is not right, because it will come back,” he said, noting there had only been one human disease “truly eradicated” thanks to a highly effective vaccine and that was smallpox. “We can’t be certain, but I think it’s unlikely we will end up with a truly sterilizing vaccine, (that is) something that completely stops infection, and it’s likely this disease will circulate and be endemic, that’s my best assessment.”

Vallance further explained that as management of the disease becomes better, COVID-19 may start to look more like the annual regular influenza than anything else.

While companies have been racing at near breakneck speed to try to create a vaccine, Vallance reminded that historical creation of vaccines had never taken under five years and closer to ten on average. That matches the spread of the disease, which has now infected 40 million and killed 1.1 million worldwide in about ten months, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Eradication of the virus depends on which vaccine can be shown to stop people from getting infected, rather than simply created immune autobody responses, and how safe that vaccine is which would dictate the strategy for distribution, Vallance said. He also believed no vaccine of any kind would be available for widespread community use until early 2021.

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