WHO warns that a coronavirus vaccine alone will not end a pandemic

Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz for participating in a vaccination study at the Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Friday that a vaccine will be a “vital tool” in the global fight against the coronavirus, but it will not end the Covid-19 pandemic on its own and there is no guarantee that scientists will find one.

World leaders and the public must learn to manage the virus and make permanent adjustments to their daily lives to bring the virus down to a low level, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference at the headquarters of the agency’s agencies. office. “At the same time, we will not, we can not go back to the way things were.”

Throughout history, outbreaks and pandemics have changed economies and societies, he said.

“In particular, the Covid-19 pandemic has given new impetus to the need to accelerate efforts to respond to climate change,” he said. “The Covid-19 pandemic has given us a glimpse of our world as it could be: cleaner skies and rivers.”

The virus has infected more than 22.7 million people worldwide and killed at least 794,100 in more than seven months, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 30 potential vaccines currently in clinical trials, according to the WHO, but there is no guarantee that they will be safe and effective, he said.

Even though human trials for potential vaccines are advancing, scientists say important questions remain. Covid-19 was discovered in December. Although many research documents and studies have been produced on the virus, scientists do not yet fully understand how it affects the body or how well someone is protected from reinfection after it has recovered.

Earlier this month, Tedros said there was no “silver bullet” for the coronavirus and “that there probably never would be.”

He said world leaders could stop new outbreaks by practicing the “basis” of public health and disease control. “Test, isolate and treat patients and track and quarantine their contacts. Do it all. Inform, contain and listen to communities. Do it all,” he said Aug. 3.

Tedros said Friday that “every single one” can make a difference in the pandemic.

“Every person and family has a responsibility to know the level of Covid-19 transmission locally and to understand what they can do to protect themselves and others,” he said.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit, said it was “very important” for the public to learn “how to live with this virus.”

That will help “continue transferring shipments, identifying cases and clusters that pop up so we can put them out easily and minimize as many deaths as possible,” she said. “In addition, some countries may be able to re-implement some measures.”

Van Kerkhove said that some countries, using data, are now opting for social distancing measures in areas where there is a high level of transmission.

“What we are seeing now is a targeted approach to adding interventions that need to be put in place to get outbreaks under control and reduce the number of infections that occur,” she said.