Health

Second coronavirus wave is NOT inevitable – even without vaccine, says ex-WHO Sars chief

A SECOND coronavirus wave is not inevitable but it could become endemic in humans, an expert has claimed.

A former World Health Organisation professor who headed up the response to the Sars virus said the "destiny" of the coronavirus is not yet known.

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Experts have said that some viruses disappear without a vaccineReuters

Professor David Heymann said it will be important to take stock of the virus in July to see exactly how it has progressed and where it is heading.

He also suggested that countries may not need to find a vaccine in order to eradicate the virus.

So far in the UK over 40,000 people have died from Covid-19.

In the last few days the death toll has been below 100 in England, according to data from NHS England.

Prof Heymann, who now works at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said "there’s no reason we have to have a second wave".

A vaccine has not yet been found to treat the virus despite efforts by scientists across the globe.

Prof Heymann today told The Telegraph that the "only way to deal with it is mitigation".

He added: “It could become endemic in humans. It could mutate in such a way it becomes more or less virulent. Or more or less transmissible. Or it could disappear.”

Prof Heymann had previously worked on Sars and said the disease had been easily passed between communities, which is similar to Covid-19.

Like the viruses that cause Sars and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Covid-19 is an RNA virus – with RNA as its genetic material, rather than DNA.

That means the virus blends with its host's DNA, and can mutate rapidly.

Many countries have been successful in diminishing cases of Covid-19, all without a vaccine.

Places such as South Korea and Germany have both managed to implement effective track and trace programmes.

Therefore they have been able to get on top of the pandemic, minimising loss of life.

If this was to happen in places such as the UK, that has had a plethora of cases, the virus would be left with nowhere to go.

Prof Heymann said this may mean that there are not enough people to transmit the virus.

He added that the Asian countries managed to get on top of the virus in January due to their rapid response.

This was due to the fact that early on they began contact tracing and isolation.

He said such measures help starve the virus and are critical circuit breakers that help stop transmission.

He added that the disappearance of Sars was due to the response by local authorities.

Travel bans were put in place almost immediately as well as border closures and researchers worked together to try and work out the best cause of action.

This time around Prof Heymann said the level of coordination between various governments has been stretched.

He added that the world has not been able to work well on a political level, despite scientists and researchers working together to fight the virus.

Sars caused 774 deaths and as the virus mutated as it passed through humans it slowly began to deplete, meaning that like Sars, Covid-19 one day might just "disappear".

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