EU offers vaccine hope as WHO warns virus may never vanish

* Vaccines, treatments should be free of charge for all ─World Leaders

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

As scientists across the world advance their efforts at researching and producing a vaccine for the cure of the damaging novel Coronavirus, the European Union’s (EU) medicines agency has suggested that a vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready in a year, though the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that the disease may never go away.

World leaders past and present have insisted that any eventual vaccines and treatments should be made available to everyone free of charge, with the global death toll from the disease nearing 300,000, reports AFP.

The pandemic has caused massive social and economic upheaval across the planet and while some nations have begun easing punishing lockdowns, fears of a second wave have kept many businesses shuttered and people confined to their homes.

Reports says Washington heightened tensions over the crisis by accusing China of trying to steal research, and United States President Donald Trump upped the rhetoric with a colourful phrase that was likely to infuriate Beijing, China.

Trump had tweeted: “We just made a great Trade Deal, the ink was barely dry, and the World was hit by the Plague from China.

“100 Trade Deals wouldn’t make up the difference — and all those innocent lives lost!”

‘Best-case scenario’

With the race to find a vaccine gathering pace, the European Medicines Agency Thursday, May 14, 2020, said one could possibly be ready in a year based on data from trials underway.

Announcing the forecast at a video news conference, Marco Cavaleri, the EMA’s head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy, stressed that it was a “best-case scenario.

“We know also that there may be delays,” he said, voicing scepticism over reports a vaccine could be ready as early as September 2020.

And world leaders were among 140 signatories to a letter published Thursday saying any vaccine should not be patented, and that the science should be shared among nations.

It said: “Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge.”

A vaccine could allow countries to fully reopen from shutdowns that have battered economies and thrown millions of people out of work.

However, the WHO earlier cautioned Wednesday, May 13 that the Coronavirus may never be wiped out entirely.

Michael Ryan, global health body’s emergencies Director said: “This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away.

“HIV has not gone away — but we have come to terms with the virus.”

The UN also warned that the outbreak risked a major mental health crisis and called for urgent action to address psychological suffering.


The prospect of the disease hanging around leaves governments facing a delicate balancing act between suppressing the pathogen and getting economies up and running.

And with more gloomy forecasts emerging from the US, Trump has increasingly looked to pin the blame on China, where the virus first emerged December 2019.

US security agencies accused Chinese hackers of attempting to steal intellectual property related to treatments.

“China’s efforts to target these sectors pose a significant threat to our nation’s response to COVID-19,” the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said, without giving evidence to support the allegations.

Beijing reacted with fury to the “smearing” and claimed China was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccine research and treatment so had no need to conduct cyber espionage.

Trump has been pushing for a swift resumption of economic activity in the US, often against the advice of health officials, as he tries to jumpstart the world’s largest economy before a November election.

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