The World Health Organization says the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could become endemic like HIV.

"It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away," WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan told an online briefing on Wednesday, May 13, Reuters reported.

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According to him, the disease may "settle into a long problem, or it may not be."

However, he said the world had some control over how it coped with the disease, although this would take a "massive effort" even if a vaccine was found – a prospect he described as a "massive moonshot."

As UNIAN reported earlier, there were over 4.26 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of Wednesday morning. The global death toll was almost 292,000 people, over 1.49 million patients have recovered.