WHO: Coronavirus “May Never Go Away”
“I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear”, said World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director, Dr. Michael Ryan who was referring to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in a press conference held last May 13, 2020.
Aside from explaining that it’s hard to predict when we will prevail over the virus that we’ve encountered the first time, Dr. Michael Ryan has also said that COVID-19 may never go away.
“I think it’s important to put this on the table. This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away. HIV has not gone away. We’ve come to terms with the virus, we have found the therapies and we’ve found the prevention methods, and people don’t feel as scared as they did before. We’re offering life to people with HIV – long, healthy lives to people with HIV.”
– Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, May 13, 2020 Press Conference
However, Dr. Ryan made it clear that he is not comparing the two diseases, rather, he only thinks that it is important for us to become realistic.
Development of a Vaccine against COVID-19
The WHO Executive Director has looked back at the time when they were involved with the teams in the Western Pacific who were then working on measles.
“I think there were 14 ventilators in Western Samoa that time. They were occupied by young children who had a devastating disease. It was called measles and they weren’t vaccinated against that disease, so forgive me if I’m cynical but we have some perfectly effective vaccines on this planet that we have not used effectively for diseases we could eliminate and eradicate and we haven’t done it. We’ve lacked the will, we’ve lacked the determination to invest in health systems to deliver that. We’ve lacked the capacity to sustain primary healthcare at the front end, and therefore, science can come up with the vaccine but someone’s gonna make it and we’ve got to make enough of it that everyone can get a dose of it.”
– Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, on May 13, 2020 Press Conference
According to Dr. Michael Ryan, we do have one hope, one shot at eliminating the Coronavirus Disease or COVID-19 and it is if we do find a highly effective vaccine. He stressed that if the vaccine has to highly effective, be made available to everyone around the world and we have to use it.