The coronavirus will be around for “evermore” as it is unlikely it will be eradicated, a British scientist on the government’s advisory committee for the pandemic has said, although a vaccine would help improve the situation.
Britain, like other countries in Europe, is currently in the grip of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, with much of the country under local restrictions and more than 21,000 daily cases reported on Tuesday.
“We are going to have to live with this virus for evermore. There is very little chance that it’s going to become eradicated,” John Edmunds, a member of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told lawmakers.
Although the coronavirus will be around indefinitely, Edmunds said that the prospect of a vaccine towards the end of the winter should impact the government’s strategy now.
“If vaccines are just around the corner then, in my view, we should try and keep the incidence as low as we can now, because we will be able to use vaccines in the not too distant future,” he said.
Edmunds said the UK had played a “clever game” in investing in different coronavirus vaccines. Britain has signed supply deals for six different COVID-19 vaccines, with 340 million doses secured across different types of technologies.
“I think we will be in a reasonable position in months,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to be vaccinating everybody but to start, maybe the highest risk people, healthcare workers and so on.”