Scientist warns ‘uncontrollable’ coronavirus will never be eradicated

Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformations, University of Glasgow, giving evidence to the House of Lords science and technology committee. (Getty Images)
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Updated 20 May 2020

Scientist warns ‘uncontrollable’ coronavirus will never be eradicated

  • Professor David Robertson: It’s a little bit of a red herring to worry about it getting worse, because it couldn’t be much worse at the moment in terms of the numbers of cases
  • David Robertson: The new coronavirus is infecting so many people with asymptomatic to mild symptoms that it’s almost uncontrollable

LONDON A leading scientist in the UK warned Tuesday that COVID-19 will never be eradicated and is “almost uncontrollable.”

Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, was giving evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology committee.

“It is so transmissible, it’s so successful, we’re so susceptible, that actually it’s a little bit of a red herring to worry about it getting worse, because it couldn’t be much worse at the moment in terms of the numbers of cases,” he said.

The professor compared the coronavirus pandemic to Ebola, which killed thousands in West Africa between 2014 and 2016

He said that while Ebola has very high virulence, and kills many people, it is also more controllable because you can identify infected people.

The new coronavirus, however, “is infecting so many people with asymptomatic to mild symptoms that it’s almost uncontrollable,” he said.

“I think we have to be clear that we’re not going to be able to eradicate this virus.

“It’s going to settle into the human population and in several years it will become a normal virus.”


US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 4 min 8 sec ago

US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.