A former WHO director says the coronavirus could 'burn out' before we have a vaccine
- Dr. Karol Sikora, a British oncologist and a former WHO director, tweeted that there's a "real chance" the novel coronavirus could "burn out" before a vaccine is developed.
- He suspects the world is more immune than estimates suggests.
- Other experts and research has been less optimistic, with some indicating less than 10% of the world has been exposed to the virus.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
View all Offers
A vaccine against the novel coronavirus is "the one great hope" of eliminating COVID-19, according to World Health Organization's Executive Director of Health Emergencies Mike Ryan.
Other scientists and researchers have emphasized that a widely-distributed vaccine is the only way vulnerable people like older adults and those with underlying conditions can be safe at large gatherings including workplaces, churches, and cruises.
A vaccine will also influence when schools and sporting events fully resume and borders can open.
But in a tweet, one expert said we may not need to wait until one is developed to overcome the current pandemic.
On May 16, Dr. Karol Sikora, a British oncologist who used to lead the WHO's cancer program, wrote "there's a real chance the virus will burn out naturally before any vacccine is developed."
He added that he suspects the population has more immunity than estimates suggest, and that it remains important to slow the spread of the virus.
—Professor Karol Sikora (@ProfKarolSikora) May 16, 2020
Some estimates suggest less than 10% of the world has been exposed to the virus
Sikora's predictions are encouraging, but don't match what other experts and research suggests.
Some research suggests less than 10% of the world has been exposed to the coronavirus, meaning that without a widely-used vaccine, it could take four or five years to develop the type of "herd immunity" that could control the outbreak, Business Insider's Hilary Brueck reported.
"A safe, effective vaccine is the only way to safely build herd immunity to this virus now," Emily Toth Martin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, told Business Insider.
"This is not just about getting through the current crisis," she added. "If this virus stays around, we need a vaccine to prevent resurgences in future generations."
During the World Health Assembly May 18, the current WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stressed conquering the coronavirus is still a long ways off.
"Early serology studies are painting a consistent picture: even in the worst-affected regions, the proportion of the population with the tell-tale antibodies is no more than 20%, and in most places, less than 10%," he said. "In other words: The majority of the world's population remains susceptible to this virus. The risk remains high and we have a long road to travel."
- WhatsApp won’t work on these phones from November 1: Check the full list
- Shiba Inu hits another all-time-high — now more valuable than Adani Enterprises, Tata Steel and Tech Mahindra
- Shiba Inu is not only bigger than Dogecoin — it’s now bigger than XRP, Polkadot and USD Coin as the seventh-biggest player in the market
- Best budget external hard disk drives under ₹4,000 in India
- IRCTC will lose a chunk of its revenue to the Indian government starting next month
- EaseMyTrip makes its first acquisition in 13 years to strengthen its hotel offerings
- Portugal''s political fate uncertain after govt budget defeat
- Battlegrounds Mobile India gets Dune-themed rewards in new crossover