GENEVA / ZURICH:
Researchers are making "good progress" in developing vaccines against COVID-19, with a handful of late-stage studies, but their first use can only be expected in early 2021, an expert from the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
The WHO strives for a fair distribution of the vaccines. In the meantime, however, it is important to suppress the spread of the virus, said Mike Ryan, director of the WHO emergency program, as daily new cases around the world are near record levels.
"We are making good progress," said Ryan, noting that several vaccines were currently in phase 3 trials and none had yet failed in terms of safety or ability to elicit an immune response.
"Realistically, it will be the first part of next year before we see people being vaccinated," he said at a public social media event.
WHO has been working to expand access to potential vaccines and increase production capacity, Ryan said.
"And we have to be fair because this is a global good. Vaccines against this pandemic are not for the rich, they are not for the poor, they are for everyone," he said.
The U.S. government will pay $ 1.95 billion to purchase 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotechnology BioNTech if it proves safe and effective.
Ryan also warned schools to be careful when reopening until the community's transmission of COVID-19 is under control. The debate in the United States about resuming education has intensified, although the pandemic is flaring up in dozens of countries.
"We have to do everything we can to get our children back to school, and the most effective thing we can do is stop the disease in our community," he said. "Because if you control the disease in the community, you can open schools."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)