The coronavirus pandemic may not go away in just a few weeks or so, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said during a Facebook Live Q&A on Thursday.
"This is not a virus that goes away in two weeks or four weeks or six weeks. We are going to be living with this, in one form or another, for 12 to 18 months if we are lucky," Jha said, referring to how long some health officials have predicted it would take to develop a vaccine.
"Once we have a vaccine that’s effective and widely deployed we can bring the pandemic to an end," Jha said. "Until that time, we are going to continue to have to confront and deal with the virus."
Scientists around the world have been working on developing vaccines that are effective against the novel coronavirus and there are dozens in development.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general for the World Health Organization, said in February that a vaccine for the novel coronavirus could take 12 to 18 months.
Just last week, a vaccine trial in the United States announced that its first patient had received a dose.
CNN reported last week that a 100-page federal plan on how to tackle the coronavirus pandemic showed the Trump administration is making contingency plans for a pandemic that could stretch up to "18 months or longer" and could include "multiple waves of illness."