As we continue life in the midst of a pandemic, a number of countries are heading towards another lockdown. It could be a long while before life turns to normalcy and we can only do our best to live life the best we know-how during a pandemic. Unless of course, a vaccine develops which can protect us all from the virus; which has so far claimed over one million lives.
But now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is claiming that a vaccine against the virus could be ready sooner than we think. Earlier this week, the head of WHO said that a vaccine against Covid-19 may be ready by the end of 2020, without elaborating further. 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 was heard saying in his closing remarks to the WHO’s Executive Board meeting that examined the global response to the pandemic. The EU health regulator has launched a real-time review of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by US drugmaker Pfizer PFE.N and Germany’s BioNTech 22UAy.F, it said on Tuesday, following a similar announcement for rival AstraZeneca’s AZN.L jab last week.
The announcement by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) could speed up the process of approving a successful vaccine in the bloc. Currently, there are nine vaccines which are being experimented with and are in the pipeline of the WHO-led COVAX global vaccine facility that aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. Up till now, around 168 countries have joined the COVAX facility, but neither China, the United States nor Russia are among them.
The Trump administration has said it is relying instead on bilateral deals to secure supplies from vaccine makers.“Especially for the vaccines and other products which are in the pipeline, the most important tool is political commitment from our leaders especially in the equitable distribution of the vaccines,” Tedros said. He went on to add, “We need each other, we need solidarity and we need to use all the energy we have to fight the virus.”