The World Health Organization’s (WHO) top scientist Soumya Swaminathan said new, improved coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines that do not require needles and can be stored at room temperature may be out by the end of this year or the next year.
“We’re thrilled with the vaccines that we have, but we can improve further,” said Swaminathan. “I think, well into 2022, we’re going to see the emergence of improved vaccines,” she said, according to news agency Bloomberg, adding that six-to-eight new immunizations may complete clinical studies and undergo regulatory review by the end of the year.
According to Bloomberg, only 122 countries have started vaccinating people. As the virus continues to spread and its variants emerge, the demand for vaccines is increasing as drugmakers struggle to meet orders.
However, the agency said so far 10 vaccines have been proven effective against the virus within a year of it being declared a pandemic adding that these are already in use and companies producing these have also begun testing the updated versions designed to defeat variants of the virus.
Swaminathan further added that the development of more vaccine candidates should be encouraged as the need for booster immunization of populations was not very clear at this point. “We need to continue to support the research and development of more vaccine candidates, especially as the need for ongoing booster immunization of populations is still not very clear at this point,” she said.
According to research quoted by Bloomberg, a natural infection triggers the immune response to the virus just as a first dose would, making a second injection unnecessary. This could free up more supplies, Swaminathan said.