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WHO’s director-general says COVID-19 vaccine may be available by year-end

Remarks were made at a WHO executive board meeting earlier this week

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by the end of this year, according to Reuters.

Speaking at a WHO executive board meeting earlier this week, Ghebreyesus commented that “we will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine”. The remark was made at the end of the meeting, with Ghebreyesus not elaborating any further beyond that.

The board meeting examined the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also took calls from a number of countries including Britain, Germany and Australia for reforms to strengthen the United Nations agency.

Ghebreyesus also identified the ‘key priorities’ for the next three months as the northern hemisphere heads into influenza season and as cases climb globally.

This includes bolstering the ACT Accelerator, a collaborative initiative co-led by the WHO which aims to accelerate development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

Addressing the executive board, Ghebreyesus said that there is currently a financing gap of $34bn for the ACT Accelerator, adding that $14bn is needed to “maintain momentum”.

“History will not judge us kindly if it records that trillions of dollars were poured into domestic stimulus packages, but the international community could not find the funds to ensure equitable access for all people,” said Ghebreyesus

“This is not charity. It’s the fastest way to end the pandemic and catalyse the global economic recovery,” he added.

Ghebreyesus also highlighted the need for continued global solidarity and strengthening the use of existing tools to fight the pandemic, including contact tracing, quarantine as well as hand hygiene and physical distancing.

In August, Ghebreyesus warned against vaccine nationalism, as countries across the world secure early access to promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

In that address, and his most recent remarks to the executive board, the WHO director-general encouraged global support for the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility, a mechanism designed to ensure joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccine candidates.

So far, COVAX is supporting the development of nine vaccines, with additional shots in the pipeline. In addition, 168 countries and economies are covered by the facility, representing more than two-thirds of the world's population.

“What we’ve learned in every region of the world is that with strong leadership, clear and comprehensive strategies, consistent communication, and an engaged, empowered and enabled population, it’s never too late. Every situation can be turned around. And hard-won gains can be easily lost,” added Ghebreyesus

Article by
Lucy Parsons

7th October 2020

From: Regulatory

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