Regions will likely harmonize efforts on potential COVID-19 vaccines, says WHO scientist


NEW DELHI | JULY 24, 2020:

The Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), Soumya Swaminathan, on July 24, informed that regions will likely harmonize efforts on potential COVID-19 vaccines to speed up their approvals once they become available.

Swaminathan also mentioned that testing the vaccine for safety and efficacy usually takes a year but with the ongoing pandemic, it could be accelerated to six months if data satisfied regulators have enough information to issue the approvals.

However, she emphasized the importance of safety.

"Speed is important, but it cannot come at the cost of compromising on the safety or efficacy standards," she said.

The first vaccine is not going to be rushed into injecting millions of people without having established the fact whether it's protecting the people and whether it is safe enough for use in large populations.

To approve a vaccine, developers will have to follow trial participants for months.

Swaminathan stated that the protection should be as high as possible, with stats ranging from 80 per cent to 90 per cent.

However, Swaminathan cautioned that only a small number of potential COVID-19 vaccines are likely to make it through.

"We have a very robust pipeline of vaccine candidates, which is excellent because normally the success rate is around 10 per cent," she said.