While a vaccine will provide some measure of protection to societies around the globe, the virus is likely to flare up from time to time and be constantly battled, much like the flu and other pathogens.

“We know this virus is not going away any time soon. It’s established itself and is going to keep on transmitting wherever it’s able to do so,” Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organization, at the “How Covid-19 Is Reshaping the Global Healthcare Ecosystem” event hosted by Bloomberg Prognosis. “We know we have to live with this.”

Humanity’s record against viruses is poor. Only one virus has been fully driven out of existence in humans – smallpox. The rest are managed, with brushfires stomped out when they flare up.

“I think what’s realistic to expect is that with a combination of drugs and vaccines we can get to a stable place where the pandemic is manageable,” said Novartis Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan. He called the actual elimination of the virus “unlikely.” Read more at MSN