Covid: the virus likely to mutate like the flu and here to stay, WHO says

Published by Caroline J. · Photos by Alexandre G. · Published on September 8, 2021 at 10:47 a.m.
Will the Covid-19 pandemic ever end? On that matter, opinions are different. According to WHO, the virus is “here to stay with us”, and evolve like any other pandemic flues.

When will the Covid-19 pandemic end? For now, it is hard to say. For some, the definitive eradication of the virus is unlikely. They think coronavirus could grow endemic. This is what the WHO thinks. “People have said we’re going to eliminate or eradicate the virus. No, we’re not, very, very unlikely”, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, said this September 7, 2021 at a press briefing.

He says “this virus is here to stay with us and it will evolve like influenza pandemic viruses”. Like other experts, those from the World Health Organization consider coronavirus will not disappear from our lives, and we will have to learn to live with it. Yet, the latter fear the mutation of coronavirus in countries with a very weak vaccine cover. Last week, the Mu variant reported in Colombia has been listed as “variant of interest” by the Organization. The reason behind this surveillance? This strain also shows mutations likely to indicate “potential properties of immune escape”.

Recently, several major health experts – including the White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and Moderna laboratory CEO Stéphane Bancel also considered the planet was to live with Covid-19 forever, as they already do with the flu. Same call for Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. “I think the most likely scenario is indeed the one we stay in an endemic situation”, he said this past spring in an interview with Les Echos. “This epidemic will become like the flu. We will be vaccinated and have a normal life”, he added.

As for Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, she said the health situation could have been very different today if the world decided to instate restrictions against the virus earlier. “We had a chance in the beginning of this pandemic”, she said this Tuesday. “This pandemic did not need to be this bad”, she added.

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