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COVID may become endemic: Taiwanese expert

Very hard to fully eradicate any virus, warns former Academia Sinica president

(Pxfuel photo)

(Pxfuel photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Humans should prepare to live with COVID-19, as it has repeatedly mutated and could become endemic like the flu, according to a Taiwanese expert.

Institute for Biotechnology and Medicine Industry (IBMI) Chairman and former Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) has been warning this for a long time. As early as February 2020, he penned articles for IBMI urging people to prepare to live with the virus for a long time and saying that vaccines were the best hope.

Currently engaged with work on COVID-19 in the U.S., Wong told CNA that judging from the current situation, the virus will continue to mutate. A worrisome development is that a large percentage of infections are asymptomatic, he said.

In human history, only the smallpox virus had been eradicated, while all others still exist, he said. He added that since COVID-19 has entered human bodies, eradicating it will be very difficult and only vaccines and orally administered drugs will help bring the world back to normal.

Though vaccines cannot totally prevent infections, they can prevent severe ones, while other drugs can treat light symptoms, just as Tamiflu does for the flu, according to the IBMI chairman.