COVID-19 here forever as the ‘new flu’, says top Thailand virologist | Inquirer News

COVID-19 here forever as the ‘new flu’, says top Thailand virologist

/ 03:48 PM April 19, 2022

Dr Yong Poovorawan

The Nation/Asia News Network

BANGKOK — Covid-19 will be around forever but will eventually become endemic as populations build immunity via vaccination or infection, a top Thai virologist said on Tuesday.

Chulalongkorn University’s Dr Yong Poovorawan said the severity of the disease will reduce and become more treatable with new medicines, in the same way that influenza is now treated with Oseltamivir (Tamiflu).


Educational, socio-economic and tourism activities must return as close as possible to pre-Covid normality but with added caution, he said in a Facebook post.


Although Thailand had suffered during the past two years, it was managing the Covid situation well and had a lower fatality rate than developed countries such as the US, the UK and France.

Yong added that children’s strong immune systems would be bolstered further after catching the disease.

Already around half of Thai children aged 5-6 had no symptoms after testing positive for Covid, he said, citing a study by Chula’s Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology, which he heads.

As with cold-like bugs such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), early infection with Covid-19 would boost children’s immunity and offer protection from severe symptoms if they caught the disease again. As adults, they may have no symptoms from Covid-19, Yong said.

This progressive immunity along with better medicines would reduce the impact of Covid on people’s everyday lives. Instead, they should focus on at-risk groups and the elderly, who are more likely to have severe symptoms when infected.

“We must get on with our lives without being careless. We will move on from these problems eventually,” he concluded.



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