Coronavirus: Extensive vaccine possible mid-2021, says WHO Chief Scientist

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As the global world races to secure an effective vaccine against the disruptive Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that widespread virus vaccination could begin in the middle of 2021.

Swaminathan expressed cautious optimism about the state of the research and development process in an interview with dpa news agency.

The WHO Chief Scientist stated: “We have now over 20 candidates in clinical studies.

“So we are hopeful that a couple of them will work. It would be very unlucky if all of them fail.

“So if we are very practical, then we are looking at the middle of 2021 when we will have a vaccine that can be widely deployed,” adding, “of course it’s impossible to predict.”

She stressed that the global race to develop a vaccine has been “the fastest timeline we have ever seen.”

There were only three months between the time the virus’ genetic sequence was published in January 2020, and the time the first trial began, report quoted her as saying.

Recall that the novel but distressing Coronavirus disease was first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019.

COVID-19 has since spread to almost every corner of the globe, killing more than 600,000 people and infecting more than 14 million, and the United States (US) leads the world in confirmed cases, report noted.

The pandemic’s epicentre has shifted from China to Europe, to the Americas, leading to lockdowns and tough restrictions on public life and travel.

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