Saturday, 28 November 2020

Covid-19 vaccine may be ready by year-end, says WHO’s Tedros

(Russian Direct Investment Fund / Handout via Reuters / File)

GENEVA: A vaccine against Covid-19 may be ready by year-end, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for solidarity and political commitment by all leaders to ensure equal distribution of vaccines when they become available.

“We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine. There is hope,” Tedros said in final remarks to the WHO’s Executive Board, without elaborating.

Nine experimental vaccines are in the pipeline of the WHO’s COVAX global vaccine facility that aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

The two-day board meeting, which examined the global response to the pandemic, heard calls from countries including Germany, Britain and Australia for reforms to strengthen the UN agency.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has strongly criticised the WHO’s role in the crisis, accusing it of being too close to China and not doing enough to question Beijing’s actions late last year when the virus first emerged in Wuhan.

Tedros has dismissed the suggestions and said his agency has kept the world informed.

Three independent panels reviewing WHO performance including its 2005 International Health Regulations – which set guidelines on trade and travel restrictions imposed during health emergencies – gave updates on their work.

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