In a Thursday interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Dr. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, said that the novel coronavirus may never go away.
Per Newsweek, which published a translation of the interview, Lipkin said that the public will have to adapt and learn how to “live the rest of our lives with this virus.”
“It is going to be a recurring problem. I don’t think life will ever be completely normal again.”
Lipkin said that it is likely future generations will be vaccinated against COVID-19, but noted that additional booster doses may be necessary. The expert described the progress in vaccine development as “staggering,” suggesting that vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer will be able to significantly reduce the spread of the virus.
However, Lipkin pointed out that there could be logistical challenges and that distribution will not be easy. “We will be able to distribute these vaccines in most of Europe and the U.S. But getting them to developing countries will be a daunting challenge,” he said.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced earlier this month that their candidate is 95 percent effective at stopping coronavirus, while Moderna said that its mRNA-1273 had an efficacy of 94.5 percent. However, neither of the vaccines can be stored at standard refrigeration temperatures, which could be a major issue in some parts of the world.
Achieving “global group immunity” is the end goal, according to Lipkin, who explained that between 60 and 80 percent of the world’s population needs to be immune before normalcy is restored.