No Guarantee If Any Covid-19 Vaccine In Trial Will Work: WHO Director-General

Race to find a vaccine for Covid-19 is a collaboration and not a competition, says WHO Director-General

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization

Covid-19 poses serious health concerns to people everywhere. Equitable, timely, and affordable access to a safe and effective Covid vaccine will be critical to help protect people’s health.

World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that the top health body has no guarantee whether any vaccine in development for the coronavirus disease will work.

“We have no guarantee that any single vaccine now in development will work. The more candidates we test, the higher the chance we will have a safe and efficacious vaccine,” the WHO chief said while addressing a virtual press conference.

He further said that almost 200 vaccine candidates are being developed for the highly-contagious disease.

“Almost 200 vaccines for Covid-19 are currently in clinical and pre-clinical testing. The history of vaccine development tells us that some will fail, and some will succeed,” he added.

His statement comes even as many health experts across the world are in a race to develop antidotes for the dreadful disease.

The WHO, in collaboration with global vaccine alliance group Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), has launched a scheme COVAX with an aim to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccines and enable equitable access for every country in the world.

“The COVAX facility enables governments to spread the risk of vaccine development and ensure their populations can have early access to effective vaccines is the mechanism that will enable a globally-coordinated rollout for the greatest possible impact,” Tedros said.

He further said that the race to find a vaccine for Covid-19 is a collaboration and not a competition.

“The COVA facility will help bring the pandemic under control, save lives and escalate the economic recovery, and ensure that the race for Covid-19 vaccine is a collaboration, not a contest,” he said.

He further said that it’s in every country’s best interest to find a vaccine for Covid-19, adding that the fastest route to ending the pandemic is to “ensure some people are vaccinated in all countries, not all people in some countries”.

“This is not charity, it’s in every country’s best interest. We sink or we swim together. The fastest route to ending the pandemic and accelerating the global economic recovery is to ensure some people are vaccinated in all countries, not all people in some countries,” he added.

‘THIS IS NOT CHARITY’

“Vaccine nationalism will only perpetuate the disease and prolong the global recovery. Working together through the COVAX Facility is not charity, it’s in every country’s own best interests to control the pandemic and accelerate the global economic recovery,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a virtual briefing.

“We sink or we swim together … This is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” he added.

“This is a landmark moment in the history of public health with the international community coming together to tackle this pandemic. The global spread of Covid-19 means that it is only through equitable and simultaneous access to new lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines that we can hope to end this pandemic”, said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI.

With some wealthier nations reticent over COVAX, the plan has highlighted the challenge of distributing vaccines equitably around a world of haves and have-nots.

The vaccine alliance said it expected another 38 wealthy countries to join the initiative in coming days. It said it had received commitments for $1.4 billion towards vaccine research and development, but a further $700 million-$800 million was urgently needed.

The alliance did not say which countries were providing funding while not planning to take supply of vaccines from the scheme. France and Germany have said they will only source potential shots via the European joint procurement scheme.

More than 150 potential vaccines are being developed and tested globally, with 38 in human trials.

The Access to Covid-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

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