United Kingdom’s chief scientific advisor believes that it is likely that Covid-19 will become as “endemic” as the annual flu virus.
None of the potential vaccines are likely to eradicate the virus, said Patrick Vallance, even though some of the vaccine candidates are in late-stage clinical trials.
“The notion of eliminating Covid from anywhere is not right, because it will come back,” he said.
Smallpox is the only human disease that has been “truly eradicated” ”because of a highly effective vaccine. None other human disease has so far been completely eliminated by a vaccine,
“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 told the National Security Strategy Committee in London recently.
“Clearly as management becomes better, as you get vaccination which would decrease the chance of infection and the severity of disease … this then starts to look more like annual flu than anything else, and that may be the direction we end up going,” he said.
Because of the expanse and ferocity of the novel coronavirus disease, the efforts to create a vaccine against the disease of biotech companies and academic bodies around the world are being undertaken at a very fast pace.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the world recently passed the gruesome milestone of 40 million confirmed coronavirus cases while the disease has caused deaths of 1.1 million people.
Vallance said that an average time of about 10 years is required for creating a vaccine normally and no vaccine has ever been developed in less than five years.
“We’re now in the extraordinary situation where there are at least eight vaccines which are in quite large clinical studies around the world. … We will know over the next few months whether we have any vaccines that really do protect and how long they protect for,” he said.
While an immune response and antibody response have been triggered by a number of vaccines being developed around the world, it is only after the completion of the third phase of trials which involves a large number of people can one actually decide on whether the vaccines can “actually stop people getting infected”, he added. From the third stage, scientists would also be able to know the actual safety profile of such vaccines which can then allow for taking up a “sensible vaccination strategy”, Vallance said.
It would not be until at least spring that there would be any vaccine available for widespread use in the community, is what Vallance concluded he believed.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)