The World Health Organization hopes the coronavirus pandemic will be shorter than the 1918 Spanish flu and last less than two years.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday the world needs to unite and succeed in finding a vaccine.
“And in our situation now with more technology, and of course with more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading, it can move fast because we are more connected now,” he told a briefing in Geneva.
“But at the same time we have also the technology to stop it and the knowledge to stop it. So we have a disadvantage of globalisation, closeness, connectedness but an advantage of better technology.
“That is really key with utilising the available tools to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like vaccine.”
The WHO has always been cautious about giving estimates on how quickly the pandemic can be dealt with while there is no proven vaccine.
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Tedros said the 1918 Spanish flu “took two years to stop”.
An estimated one third of the world’s population became infected with the H1N1 virus, or so-called Spanish flu, between 1918 and 1920, with at least 50 million people around the world estimated to have died from the disease.
More than 22.81 million people have so far been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally since it was first identified in China last year and 793,382? have died, according to a Reuters tally.
There was no vaccine developed in the response to the Spanish flu pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on its website: “with no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly”