An eminent Aberdeen professor believes Covid-19 can be eradicated using a combination of vaccines, better testing and contact tracing.
Professor Hugh Pennington believes the virus can be wiped out in the same way the world beat smallpox.
However, unlike smallpox – which required a global vaccination programme to wipe out – contact tracing and testing will be vital in beating Covid-19.
Speaking to the Daily Express, he said: “We should be aiming to do what they’ve done in China and in New Zealand, which is to eradicate the virus, like we did with smallpox and SARS.
“I see no reason why we shouldn’t have that as our aim and the vaccine will play a key role in that.
“But you’ve got to have very good contact tracing and testing because, unlike smallpox, this virus doesn’t cause spots. You can’t tell by asking somebody whether they’ve got it.
“When that will be I don’t know, but I think we could get the virus numbers down to such a low level that we can see the end of it and eliminate it altogether.”
The emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University added that Covid-19 cannot be compared to the flu as “we can’t eradicate flu. With flu, one strain comes and knocks out a previous one.
“Flu is quite a different virus, has different effects. This virus is more like SARS, which we did get rid of permanently.”