WHO looking to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine production

DPI, Guyana, Monday, April 6, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to announce a “big initiative” this week, which will see the acceleration of the research, development, and production of vaccines for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made this disclosure on Monday. Also, in development is a mechanism which will see the equitable distribution of such vaccines globally.

Ghebreyesus

Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

“Unless we break the barriers to equitable distribution of the product, whether it’s vaccines or therapeutics, we will have a problem. So, we need to address it ahead of time,” the organization head stated.

Emphasising the need to address the challenges of access, he explained that the mechanism would include senior personnel to work out the details on the acceleration of the product as well as ensure equitable distribution.

The WHO Director-General also condemned comments by a few scientists who indicated that Africa would be the testing grounds for the new vaccine.

Deeming the remarks appalling, he stated that “Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccines.”

He added that all protocols would be followed “to test the vaccines all over the world using all of the same rules whether it is in Africa, Europe, Africa or elsewhere to treat human beings the same way equally.”

Dr. Ghebreyesus noted that over 70 countries had joined WHO’s Solidarity Trial to accelerate the search for effective treatment with about 20 institutions and companies racing to develop a vaccine.

The WHO has been working with Global Citizen and will present live “One World: Together at Home” across multiple television networks on April 18. Among those set to appear is pop star Lady Gaga.

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