Mirror Online: LONDON, England – Coronavirus will be present “forever” and people are likely to need regular vaccinations against it, a top expert has warned.

Sir Mark Walport, a former chief scientific adviser, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the pandemic would be controlled by “global vaccination”.

But he added that COVID-19 is not “going to be a disease like smallpox which could be eradicated by vaccination”.

Sir Mark, who is also a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said: “This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another and almost certainly will require repeated vaccinations.

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

Sir Mark Walport, a former chief scientific adviser & a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said that the pandemic would be controlled by “global vaccination”. Image: Robert Perry

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.

The scientist has warned coronavirus will be present “forever”  – Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“But at the same time we have also the technology to stop it and the knowledge to stop it. So we have a disadvantage of globalisation, closeness, connectedness but an advantage of better technology.

“So we hope to finish this pandemic (in) less than two years.”

He urged “national unity” and “global solidarity”.

More than 22.81 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 793,382 have died, according to Reuters.

Some scientists have suggested coronavirus could follow a similar pattern to the deadly Spanish flu, which swept the globe in three waves, claiming about 50 millions lives.

Director-General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom GhebreyesusImage: REUTERS

It broke out in March 1918 and mainly affected the elderly and infirm during the First World War.

By August 1918, it was hoped the pandemic was coming to an end, but the death spiked again in September to November.

But the virus had developed into a new strain, and this hit young, healthy people.

The president elect of the Royal Society of Medicine Professor Roger Kirby said in July: “The winter is coming and almost certainly a second wave of this virus is coming.

WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said more research is needed on the impact of coronavirus mutations.
She said: “A special working group has been formed to identify mutations … and we’re looking at how we can better understand what the mutation means and how they behave.”