The world is currently struggling to tackle the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak for almost the last six to seven months as the number of cases has crossed 24 million worldwide. Now, a medical expert from Shanghai has predicted that it is just the beginning of the pandemic.

Dr. Zhang Wenhong, who is the Director of Infectious Diseases at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, predicted that the virus might stay with us for around four years and a second international outbreak can hit in this autumn. He also mentioned that humans will not be able to eradicate the disease in the coming years. "We cannot eradicate the disease in the coming two, three or four years," he told ITV News as reported by the Mirror.

Zhang's predictions are based on the experiences he had with the early outbreak in China. The medic saw his first patient on January 12 and imposed a city-wide lockdown a week later. Within just four weeks, the virus spread was curbed and Shanghai was able to open up again.

COVID-19 to Stay Till 2024, Says Zhang

Dr Zhang Wenhong
Dr Zhang Wenhong Wikimedia Commons

However, with the virus spread around the world at a rapid pace, Zhang believes that a vaccine is required to stop the pandemic. "I think we have to wait for the vaccine to stop the virus spreading in high pandemic areas around the world. For Europe and Asia, we have to be very alert for the second wave," he mentioned.

His prediction comes after a top academic expert warned that a second wave of the virus is probably going to hit the UK Professor Sir John Bell mentioned that the winter is going to be tough with the addition of the flu.

The deadly virus outbreak has claimed the lives of over 826,000 people globally in more than 70 nations as scientists around the world are currently working to find a cure for the deadly disease. Russia, however, registered its first vaccine a few days back claiming it to be safe for use.

But experts around the world have raised their concerns regarding the safety of the vaccine as it did not undergo proper trials before getting registered. An effective vaccine is expected by the first quarter of 2021.