Meanwhile, a former Government minister has advocated increasing testing from 150,000 to 10,000,000 per day.
Professor Walport said fighting coronavirus will be a bit like flu, with people needing re-vaccination at regular intervals, he predicted.
He remained concerned with the spread of the virus, saying that fewer than 20% of the UK population have had it so far, and pointing to rapidly rising cases in countries such as France, Spain and South Korea, which had previously got the disease under control.
He warned that there would be a "terrible balance between trying to minimise the harm to people from the infection while keeping society going."
He said there could be a more targeted approach than generic lockdowns, although that would not be out of the question again if the virus got out of control.
Meanwhile, Professor Ara Darzi, a former Health Minister and co-director of Imperial College London's Institute of Global Health Innovation, advocated much more widespread and regular home testing - suggesting an increase from 150,000 tests per day in the UK to as many as 10 million, to give the public confidence.
Professor Darzi said simple, easy and cheap tests, providing results in just 10 minutes are already out there.
In contrast to Professor Walport, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation, was optimistic that the pandemic could be over within two years. He said that was how long it took to overcome the 'Spanish flu' 100 years ago, and technology advances meant coronavirus could be stopped in a shorter time.
Which side of the fence are you on in terms of how long the virus will be around for? And what do you think the country and world needs to do to get on top of the pandemic?