"It will be four or five years until we have COVID-19 under control," according to the WHO chief scientist

We have only been in alarm for two months and five months since we started hearing the first news of COVID-19, but its consequences, which are already beginning to be dramatic, may have only just begun. According to Soumya Swaminathan, a clinical scientist and head of the WHO, "it will be four or five years until we have COVID-19 under control," he said in a Financial Times digital conference.

"Many factors will determine for how long and to what extent the virus remains a threat, including whether it mutates, the containment measures in place, and whether an effective vaccine is developed," he explained. "There is no crystal ball here, and the pandemic could potentially worsen." A pessimistic view that lengthens the uncertainty of those who saw a way out in a period of between twelve and eighteen months, which is considered for the arrival of a coronavirus vaccine.

Around with the new normal

Regarding the vaccine, he added that "it seems for now the best way out", although qualifying that there are many "buts" both regarding its efficacy and safety, as well as its level of production so that distribution can be equitable, hinting that the The gap between rich and poor countries can be accentuated with an early arrival in the former and a longer delay in the latter. It is not the only consequence of the pandemic that we see that accentuates the social gap.

Peter Piot, professor of Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a scientist who discovered Ebola and tested positive for COVID-19 and is still in the process of recovery, said at the same conference that control of the virus depends on development. of an effective vaccine, but that "eliminating the disease is going to require much much more". "Only smallpox has been eliminated and eradicated as a disease in humans," he added.

He also spoke about how countries should prepare ourselves to find a way for all of society to coexist with the virus, and move from hard confinements to "more granular and specific measures", something in which Swaminathan agreed, commenting that "discover how reaching a new normal is the biggest political challenge. "

"We must prepare ourselves to find a way for all of society to coexist with the virus"

Paul Franks, Professor of Epidemiology at Lund University, also spoke at the same conference, speaking about the Swedish case and its more lax measures against the virus, explaining that "what is considered successful could now be perceived later as a failure" , and advancing that the lack of control measures that several countries are initiating could translate into an increase in death rates, something that we have already seen in countries such as Germany, Japan or Singapore.

Franks himself said that the rate at which countries can control the virus will depend largely on "whether we are able to organize ourselves in society better than we have done so far", something that Piot stressed speaking of "bureaucracies inefficient "and other public factors as something that has" hampered "the ability of many countries to detect and track the virus. "Tests are essential as we go through the phase of the pandemic, there is no alternative, we have to invest more in tests," said Piot.

Featured Image | WHO.

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