Scientist warns coronavirus will be present 'forever'

A former chief scientific adviser has warned Covid-19 will be with us “forever” and people are likely to need regular vaccinations against it.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, who is a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said that, like flu, repeat inoculations will be required.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said the coronavirus pandemic will be controlled by “global vaccination” but that it is not “going to be a disease like smallpox which could be eradicated by vaccination”.

“This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another and almost certainly will require repeated vaccinations,” he said.

“So, a bit like flu, people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals.”

The scientist also warned that it is “possible” the virus will get “out of control” again, but said more targeted measures can now be used instead of a generic lockdown.

His comments came after the head of the World Health Organisation said he hopes the coronavirus pandemic will be over within two years.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it took two years to overcome the Spanish flu in 1918, but that advances in technology could allow Covid-19 to be stopped in a “shorter time”.

Speaking in Geneva on Friday, he said: “Of course, with more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading.

“But, at the same time, we have also the technology to stop it, and the knowledge to stop it.”

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