The Chief Scientist of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Soumya Swaminathan has said that containing coronavirus pandemic could take 4 to 5 years.

Several factors impact the timeline in which we can control the virus, including containment measures, if and how the virus mutates and of course whether we discover a vaccine, said Dr. Soumya.

She added that a vaccine appeared to be the best way out at present but warned there were lots of ifs and buts about its safety, production and equitable distribution to over 7 billion of people.

The pandemic could potentially get worse in the future if there’s no vaccine yet to be found, she said. The development of an effective vaccine and successful confinement measures were both among the factors that would ultimately determine the pandemic’s duration, she added.

In a recent event, the executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program Dr. Mike Ryan, warned COVID-19 may never go away. Ryan said, “It is important to put this on the table: This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away. I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear,”

He added that trying to control the virus would require a “massive effort,” even if a vaccine is found.