Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, gestures during a special session on the COVID-19 response. File / AP
A vaccine against COVID-19 may be ready by year-end, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday, without elaborating.
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 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 and Germany's BioNTech, it said on Tuesday, following a similar announcement for rival AstraZeneca's jab last week. The announcement by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) could speed up the process of approving a successful vaccine in the bloc.
Nine experimental vaccines are in the pipeline of the WHO-led COVAX global vaccine facility that aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
So far some 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.
"We need each other, we need solidarity and we need to use all the energy we have to fight the virus," he said.
The World Health Organisation, (WHO) should play a proactive role, in providing clear guidelines for the approval and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines. China and Russia were among the first nations to announce the discovery
Nothing is to be believed about China. The news that it will vaccinate a city of 300,000 people is also perplexing. What have the population been up to all this while, while the world is creaking under the weight of the pandemic? (“China aims to vaccinate entire city in 5 days after outbreak”, April 2, Gulf Today).
The row came as Italy prepared the next stage of its gradual easing of a national lockdown imposed three months ago to fight the spread of the deadly virus.
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