The World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called Monday on everyone to keep fighting Covid-19, warning that while we may be sick of battling the pandemic, the virus is “not tired of us”.
Speaking to WHO’s main annual assembly, which resumed Monday after being cut short in May, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said that the election of Joe Biden as the next US president could signal tighter global cooperation to end the pandemic.
It was vital, he said, for people to follow the science and resist the urge to turn a blind eye to the virus.
“We might be tired of Covid-19. But it is not tired of us,” he said.
Tedros, speaking from quarantine after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, warned that the virus preys on weakness.
“It preys on those in weaker health, but it preys on other weaknesses too: inequality, division, denial, wishful thinking, and willful ignorance, he said.
“We cannot negotiate with it, nor close our eyes and hope it goes away. It pays no heed to political rhetoric or conspiracy theories,” he said.
“Our only hope is science, solutions, and solidarity.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) chief also hailed Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement on Monday that the vaccine they have jointly developed is 90% effective in preventing the Covid-19 infection in ongoing Phase 3 trials.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted shortly afterward: “We welcome the encouraging vaccine news from @pfizer & @BioNTech_Group & salute all scientists & partners around the who are developing new safe, efficacious tools to beat #Covid19.’
We welcome the encouraging vaccine news from @pfizer & @BioNTech_Group & salute all scientists & partners around the 🌍 who are developing new safe, efficacious tools to beat #COVID19. The 🌍 is experiencing unprecedented scientific innovation & collaboration to end the pandemic!
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) November 9, 2020
The Covid-19 vaccine could fundamentally change pandemic direction
A Covid-19 vaccine may be rolled out by March 2021 to the most vulnerable, which along with other advances could fundamentally change the course of the pandemic, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Monday.
Bruce Aylward also told the WHO’s annual ministerial assembly that interim results announced from Pfizer Inc’s late-stage vaccine trials were “very positive”.
“There is still much work to be done, this is just interim results…but some very positive results coming today which should hold great promise hope for the entire world as we move forward,” Aylward told the 194-member state forum.
Pfizer said its experimental Covid-19 vaccine with partner BioNTech was more than 90% effective.
Aylward, referring to all three pillars of the ACT (Access to Covid Tools) Accelerator launched in April, said: “In diagnostics, we are in a position to massively expand testing globally, in therapeutics we have sufficient tools right now to substantially reduce the risk of dying from this disease and in the area of vaccines – with the news of today especially – we are on the verge of having the readiness in place to roll out doses for high-risk populations in the late first quarter, early 2nd quarter.”
However, he warned that an “acute funding gap” of $4.5 billion could slow access to tests, medicines, and vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.