The World Health Organization (WHO), has hinted that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus disease may be ready by the end of the year.
This disclosure was made by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Tuesday, October 5, 2020, during the UN agency’s Executive Board meeting that examined the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.
He called for solidarity and political commitment by all leaders to ensure equal distribution of vaccines when they become available.
Tedros, in a final remark to the WHO’s Executive Board, said, “We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine. There is hope.’’
This announcement is coming on the day the European Union health regulator, launched a real-time review of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US drugmaker, Pfizer and Germany’s VioNTech, following a similar announcement for AstraZeneca’s vaccine last week.
The WHO-led COVAX global vaccine facility currently has 9 experimental vaccines that are under its development, and it aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
The two-day WHO executive board meeting, which examined the global response to the pandemic, heard calls from countries including Germany, Britain and Australia for reforms to strengthen the U.N. agency.
The WHO has been heavily criticized by President Donald Trump’s administration over its role in the management of the pandemic crisis, accusing it of being too close to China and not doing enough to question Beijing’s actions late last year when the virus first emerged in Wuhan.
Tedros has, however, dismissed the suggestions and said his agency has kept the world informed.
The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, met for the first time last month.
Tedros said, “We hope to get the real lessons that we can implement and prevent the same thing from happening. But I would like to assure you that WHO is ready to learn from this and change this organization.”
“During our transformation, we promised this, we promised to keep the change as a constant,” he said, referring to his programme since taking the helm in 2017.