"It is impossible for me to say whether we will see new or more dangerous variants in the future. I don’t know when the pandemic will be over, but I can say how. The pandemic will end when we can reach 70% vaccine coverage across the world. It will end when we are able to develop effective and safe antiviral drugs to treat people who contract COVID-19," Kluge told TASS on Monday.
The WHO official also stressed the need to strengthen health systems all over the world and educate future health workers to be better prepared for the next pandemic. "It will end when we strengthen our health systems and train our future health workers to be better prepared for the next pandemic. It will end when we stop responding to the crisis as stand-alone nation-states, but collectively as one human family. It will end when all of us arms ourselves with science and take responsibility for our actions," the WHO regional director said.
Kluge pointed out that COVID-19 would likely become endemic, like the flu or the four other types of coronavirus that cause the common cold. "We anticipate that a mixture of natural and vaccine-acquired immunity will eventually help end this pandemic. It’s up to us to do everything we can to suppress transmission and get on with our lives. We might never be COVID-free, but we can certainly be pandemic-free," the WHO official stated.