World Health Organization-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu in Geneva on March 11.

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty

The World Health Organization’s director-general on Monday warned that there might never be a “silver bullet” for the novel coronavirus.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ statement comes six months after the organization declared the virus a global health emergency.

Tedros warned that despite promising prospects of a vaccine, the world might still need to maintain practices it adapted during the pandemic.

More than 18 million coronavirus cases have been recorded worldwide, with more than 692,000 deaths.

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The World Health Organization’s director-general on Monday warned that there might never be a “silver bullet” for the coronavirus, six months after the agency declared the novel virus a global health emergency.

“There’s no silver bullet at the moment, and there might never be,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“For now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control: testing, isolating and treating patients, and tracing and quarantining their contacts,” he added.

The director-general warned that despite several vaccines entering late-stage trials, the world may need to maintain at least some customs they adapted during the pandemic, such as social distancing and wearing masks.

Read more: Moderna’s CEO shared a detailed timeline for when we’ll know if its coronavirus vaccine works, and cautions that you might not get a shot until the spring

As of July 31, WHO reported six vaccine candidates that were in phase 3, the stage in which the vaccine is tested to see if it actually prevents disease, NPR reported.

More than 18 million coronavirus cases have been recorded worldwide, with more than 692,000 deaths.

The bulk of those cases are in the US, Brazil, and India, but Tedros noted that even some countries that hadn’t seen spikes in the past had begun seeing increases in cases, and he warned everyone to stay vigilant.

“Inform, empower, and listen to communities,” he said. “Do it all.”

Story continues

Read more: The first look at human data from the coronavirus-vaccine front-runners is in. Here’s how Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca stack up as they race to have their shots ready this fall.

The organization launched a mask challenge to challenge people to send in photos of themselves wearing a mask.

“As well as being one of the key tools to stop the virus, the mask has come to represent solidarity,” Tedros said.

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