THERE is zero chance that Covid-19 will be eradicated for good, government scientists have warned.
The government's chief scientific adviser this evening stated that the virus "won't disappear" and that it would likely continue to circulate the same way other viruses have for "thousands of years".
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Addressing the nation this evening at a Downing Street press conference, Sir Patrick Vallance said there was "zero chance" that the virus would be eradicated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added that "eradication" of the virus "wouldn't make sense for one country alone".
Sir Patrick said: "We are getting the numbers as low as we can but we don't expect this is going to disappear.
"Expect that there will be recurrences of infections, particularly in the winter.
"The numbers of true eradication are close to zero."
Sir Patrick and Mr Johnson were appearing alongside Professor Chris Whitty who said: "I regret to say that I think the chances of eradicating this disease – which means getting rid of it absolutely everywhere or as close to zero makes no difference.
"We have only ever eradicated one disease, which is smallpox, with a phenomenonal vaccine over a very long period of time – literally over hundreds of years.
“Others have come close but it’s very difficult. In terms of eliminating it from the UK, this is a disease which, for most people who have it, have mild symptoms or in some cases no symptoms who can then transmit it and that makes it very difficult to find.
“We have vaccines, very good vaccines but they are not 100 per cent effective vaccines, we have good tests but not everybody who needs a test is getting tested.”
It comes as
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- Covid deaths halve in a fortnight as 112 fatalities and 5,379 cases recorded in last 24 hours
- Boris Johnson warns it’s ‘too early’ to book foreign summer holidays now but will reveal more within DAYS
- Angela Merkel orders EU to back away from vaccine export ban threat against UK
Prof Whitty said that "everyone agrees that we can get Covid rates right down", and that it should "absolutely be our aim".
He said one of the main aims is also to get death rates and the number of people who have serious disease right down.
"If we could go further, who could say no?
"But I think if you talked to anybody who looks at this really seriously, who understands how infectious diseases work, I don't think there is anybody who thinks eliminating it from the UK, or eradicating globally for any long period of time is a realistic prospect at this point in time."
So far in the UK over 28.3 million Brits have received a first dose of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab or the Pfizer/BioNTech offering, with over 2.3 million having had a second.
Prof Vallance said that the expectation is that antibodies to vaccines will also last for a reasonable period.
He added: "We don't know exactly how long because obviously people haven't been vaccinated for a very long period."
Sir Patrick said booster jabs might be needed in the autumn.
He told the briefing: "There will be a need to think about booster jabs for vaccines in the autumn I suspect, particularly thinking about getting a high level of immunity to cover things over the winter."
Prof Whitty who also appeared alongside Sir Patrick added: "The second reason for having to do a second vaccine is if we got a variant that had a relative escape from our current vaccines and that would be another reason why we might need to do revaccination."
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