“Once-in-a-century health crisis”; WHO Director-General

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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WHO Director General
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking at a recent media briefing

World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opined that the current global coronavirus outbreak is the sort of disaster whose effects will last far into the future.

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come,” the Director-General told a meeting of the WHO’s Emergency Committee.

WHO’s comments on Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine

On the developments in Russia, the WHO stressed that all vaccine candidates should go through the full stages of testing before being rolled out.

“There are established practices and there are guidelines out. “Any vaccine…(or medicine) for this purpose should be, of course, going through all the various trials and tests before being licensed for roll-out, “WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters at the United Nations in Geneva.

“Sometimes individual researchers claim they have found something, which is of course, as such, great news. But between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big difference, he added.

The US remains skeptical  

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar criticized Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for being promoted by Moscow accusing them of withholding trial data and not being transparent.

Mr. Azar remarked that it’s more important to have a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus than to be the first to produce a vaccine. “The point is not to be first with a vaccine. The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world.”

Russia’s expedited vaccine worries researchers across the globe

Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. said, “That the Russians may be skipping such measures and steps is what worries our community of vaccine scientists. If they get it wrong it could undermine the entire global enterprise,” says

Meanwhile, Francois Balloux, a geneticist at University College London said, “This is a reckless and foolish decision. Mass vaccination with an improperly tested vaccine is unethical. Any problem with the Russian vaccination campaign would be disastrous both through its negative effects on health, but also because it would further set back the acceptance of vaccines in the population.”