With experts saying coronavirus might never go away completely, evolving vaccines and treatments will be crucial to fight the disease.
"Eradicating a disease like this is not the right goal," said Abraar Karan, a public health expert at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, per The Hill on Monday. "Controlling it and becoming better at treating it is far more doable, and worth the cost.
"Many diseases run into issues around true eradication and it doesn't end up making sense to try and completely stop them because it often becomes exceedingly unlikely."
More than 106 million people, including 27 million in the U.S., have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering,
More than 2.3 million people overall have died, as have nearly a half million in the U.S.
"We surely will be living with this virus in different forms perhaps for a long time to come," said Peggy Hamburg, chair of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
With new COVID-19 mutations having surfaced in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, the possibility has emerged that some form of the coronavirus may evade existing vaccines.
"If [the new strains] do become dominant we may need to upgrade the vaccine. That's exactly the direction we're going right now," said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Anthony Fauci said Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press."
The combination of improved treatments and annual development of an influenza vaccine could be the way we live with COVID-19 going forward.
"As our population gains immunity, and if we get into a cycle of annual vaccination like flu, based on the circulating strains in the global south and what ends circulation in March the virus season prior, it will really only be kids and immunosuppressed [people] that are at higher risk," said Christine Petersen, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa. "We will probably get some better, more targeted antivirals too to then help these groups have better outcomes if they do get sick."
Many health officials and experts now are saying what World Health Organization Emergencies Programme Executive Director Mike Ryan said in May.
"This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away," Ryan said a few months after he pandemic started in the U.S. "I think it is important that we be realistic and I don't think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear."
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