Vaccines insufficient to prevent surge in coronavirus for next six months: WHO

WION Web Team
Geneva, Switzerland Published: Dec 02, 2020, 10.35 PM(IST)

This handout picture taken and released by the World Health Organization on October 5, 2020 shows World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wearing a protective face mask attending a WHO executive board holds special sess Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 49 'candidate vaccines' at the stage of clinical trials in humans by mid-November, up from 11 in mid-June

The World Health Organization does not believe there will be enough quantities of coronavirus vaccines in the next three to six months to prevent a surge of infections, its top emergency expert said on Wednesday.

"We are not going to have sufficient vaccinations in place to prevent a surge in cases for three to six months," Mike Ryan told a social media event, calling on people to maintain social distancing and respect other measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 49 "candidate vaccines" at the stage of clinical trials in humans by mid-November, up from 11 in mid-June.

WHO had received data from Pfizer and BioNTech on the COVID-19 vaccine and was reviewing it for "possible listing for emergency use", a benchmark for countries to authorise national use.

Referring to Britain's regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said in a statement: "WHO is also in discussions with MHRA on the possibility of accessing some of the information from their assessment, which could expedite WHO’s emergency listing".

Britain approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, jumping ahead of the United States and Europe to become the West's first country to formally endorse a shot it said should reach the most vulnerable people early next week.

Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergency expert, welcomed the news, adding: "We shouldn't stop, we need more than 3-4 vaccines.''

"We need to increase production, we need to pull the price down," he told a social media event. "We need a one-dose vaccine."

WHO recommended wearing facemasks when indoors with other people, if the ventilation has been deemed inadequate, in an update to its Covid-19 guidance on masks.

The new recommendations apply in areas of known or suspected cluster or community transmission of the new coronavirus.

In June, the WHO urged governments to ask everyone to wear fabric masks in indoor and outdoor public areas where there was a risk of transmission of the virus.

Since then, a second global wave of the epidemic has gathered pace. In all, more than 63 million people globally have caught COVID-19 and 1.475 million died of it.

Dozens of companies, from biotech start-ups to Big Pharma, are in the race to develop a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, both to meet urgent medical need and for the potential payday.

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