‘Do it all’ urges WHO as the world awaits a vaccine

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The World Health Organization cautioned that COVID-19 may never have a “silver bullet” in the form of a perfect vaccine and that the path to normality will be long, with some countries needing a reset of strategy.

With more than 18.14 million people around the world infected and 688,080 deaths, COVID-19 is the biggest health emergency since the early 20th century. Moreover, some nations that believed they were over the worst are witnessing a resurgence.

Stringent implementation of safety initiatives such as hand washing, social distancing, mask-wearing and testing is necessary, says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Head of Emergencies Mike Ryan.

Tedros, while speaking at a virtual news briefing from the U.N. body’s headquarters in Geneva said, “The message to people and governments is clear: ‘Do it all’.” He said face masks should become a symbol of solidarity around the world.

But he stressed on the uncertainties regarding the vaccine. He expressed his concerns that the world may not have a vaccine that may work, or its protection could be for just a few months, not more. He urged the people to wait until the completion of the clinical trials.

 Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director-General, WHO

“A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment – and there might never be.”

Ryan said high-transmission countries, including Brazil and India, needed to prepare for a major battle: “The way out is long and needs continuous commitment,” he said, calling for a “reset” of approach in some locations.

In an attempt to locate the source of the virus, an advance investigation team has completed its trip to China and laid the groundwork for further studies, according to WHO.

The report is one of the demands made by the US, who is planning to leave the body next year, accusing the international organization of being too accommodating to China.