WHO finally predicts end of Covid pandemic after multiple vaccines show promise
KOLKATA (India) — WHO chief has said now that vaccines are turning up extraordinarily promising, the end of the pandemic could be near given the world harness a combination of the tools at disposal.
“There is now real hope that vaccines, in combination with other tried and tested public health measures, will help to end the pandemic,” said the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, IANS reported.
“With the latest positive news from vaccine trials, the light at the end of this long dark tunnel is growing brighter.”
Similar statements were echoed by India’s top medical school chief from AIIMS, who said the vaccine will give up to a year of protection that will ultimately help break the chain.
Dr. Randeep Guleria, head of Delhi’s AIIMS told CNN News18 that “COVID-19 won’t disappear,” and “It will not be eliminated for quite some time. I don’t see COVID 19 disappearing. It might become a much milder disease.”
At least three vaccine candidates have proven to be incredibly effective in subduing or preventing the novel coronavirus in the last week alone, with two of them giving as much as 95% protection from the disease.
The successful results came after large-scale vaccine trials that were being developed for the last 10-months and were fast-tracked at a record-scale breaking every record in the history of humanity.
AstraZeneca, the British pharma giant which is co-developing Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine announced Monday that their jab has proven to be up to 90% effective on humans of nearly every age-group.
Oxford’s announcement was preceded by Moderna Inc. and Pfizer — the two American pharma giants whose mRNA-based vaccines proved to be 95% effective in large-scale clinical trials.
“The significance of this scientific achievement cannot be overstated. No vaccines in history have been developed as rapidly as these. The scientific community has set a new standard for vaccine development,” Tedros said.
Several initiatives have already been set up around the world to ensure fair and suitable distribution of the vaccines are ensured. Experts have raised concerns of ‘vaccinationalism’ where powerful nations could hoard the vaccine for themselves, shading the less-capable ones.
But to beat a pandemic, experts noted, requires a collective effort, and it includes every single million of the affected population in the world to be included in the immunization process, least a healthy future is expected.
Tedros said the urgency with which the vaccines have been made, the same urgency must be implemented in distributing the same as well.
WHO-backed initiative called the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator has 187 countries on-board who have pledged to partake in a fair and equal distribution of an approved vaccine around the world.
But collecting the funds has been challenging. Of the 182 nations, the majority are low-income, and WHO predicts, $4.3 billion would be immediately needed to procure and distribute the vaccines and other expenses like tests and treatments.
Twenty of the world’s most-powerful leaders pledged to spare no efforts in ensuring a timely and fair distribution of the novel coronavirus vaccine.
German Chancellor Angela Markle however popped the optimistic bubble, pointing out, that not a single vaccine deal has been made with poor nations, while higher-income nations have been sealing deals with the vaccine-makers.
The US, UK, Brazil, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Russia, UAE, and other European economies among others have some way or the other secured an in-flow of millions of doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines, as soon as they are available.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca in an interview with AFP news agency said that the company will provide the first 3 billion doses until 2021 in an effective cost price of $3/ dose.
“We are committed to these three billion doses at cost price for 2021. We must not forget that this is a race against the virus rather than a race for the vaccine between competitors,” head of AstraZeneca in France, Olivier Nataf was quoted as saying.
Global coronavirus cases have surpassed 59,300,863 cases as of November, after first breaking out in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in November last year.
The pandemic has affected every corner of the globe and so far 1,398,838 lives have been lost, Johns Hopkins University tally says. The US, India, and Brazil have the most number of deaths and infection cases in the world.