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WHO chief sees 'light at the end of long, dark tunnel'

WHO Chief Sees ‘Light at the End of Long, Dark Tunnel’

GENEVA – World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, made an optimistic assessment of vaccine development after recent data showed more cases of Covid-19 were reported in the past 4 weeks than in the past 6 first months of the pandemic.
With current vaccine developments, the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel is getting brighter and brighter, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
He was speaking at a twice-weekly press webinar in Geneva on the novel coronavirus.
At the same time, Tedros warned: “The urgency with which vaccines have been developed must be matched with the same urgency to distribute them equitably.”
He said: “With the latest positive news from vaccine trials, the light at the end of this long dark channel is getting brighter and brighter.
“There is now real hope that vaccines, in combination with other proven public health measures, will help end the pandemic.”
He stressed that no vaccine in history had been developed as quickly as it is today.
“The scientific community has a new standard for vaccine development. Now the international community must set the new standard for access.”
WHO has been invited to comment on the news of a vaccine developed by the Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca at the University of Oxford that has a 70% effectiveness against the new Coronavirus.
WHO chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said the news followed “encouraging results from the first two vaccines” announced by Pfizer and Moderna.
She said: “The AstraZeneca vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. so I think the good news is that it is possible to make vaccines against the Covid-19 disease.”
“And it is possible that we have a number of candidate vaccines that can be used in the fight against this disease.”
Like Tedros, Swaminathan said: “We want to provide access to as many effective and safe vaccines as possible so that we can cover people around the world.”
“Remember, we have to cover an enormous number of billions and billions of people, and this is unprecedented. And we will need all the manufacturing capacity in the world to be able to do that.”
Regarding AstraZeneca’s results, she said the WHO had only heard preliminary results from vaccine trials in the UK.
“I think we have to wait and see the results of both efficacy and safety,” Swaminathan said.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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