WHO eyes 2bn vaccine doses by end of 2021
The World Health Organization said Thursday that a few hundred million Covid-19 vaccine doses might be produced by the end of the season – and start to become targeted at those most at risk of the virus.
The UN health agency said it had been working on that assumption, with a view to two billion doses by the end of 2021, as pharmaceutical firms rush to discover a vaccine.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said researchers were working on significantly more than 200 vaccine candidates all over the world, including 10 that are in human testing.
“If we’re very lucky, there will be one or two successful candidates before the end of this year,” she told a virtual press conference.
She identified three groups most in need of the initial wave of vaccine doses.
They are front-line workers with high exposure, such as medics and police officers; those most at risk of the disease, such as older people and diabetics; and people in high-transmission settings, such as urban slums and care homes.
Pharmaceutical company executives said late last month that certain or a few COVID-19 vaccines could begin rolling out before 2021, but warned that an estimated total of 15 billion doses will be needed to suppress the virus.
US questions new China virus figures, seeks observers
The United States on Thursday questioned China’s credibility on reporting fresh coronavirus cases in Beijing and called for neutral observers to assess the extent of the outbreak.
China has locked down the capital as it seeks to prevent another wave of Covid-19, reporting 158 cases since a brand new cluster was detected a week ago.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an outspoken critic of China, urged greater transparency during talks Wednesday in Hawaii with senior Chinese official Yang Jiechi.
“I would hope that their numbers and their reporting are more accurate than what we saw in the case of Wuhan and other places in the PRC, but that remains to be seen,” said David Stilwell, the very best US diplomat for East Asia who accompanied Pompeo.
“As far as numbers, it would be good to have folks on the ground to get confirmation” in Beijing, he told reporters.
Stilwell pointed to reports in scientific journals that gave higher estimates for COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, the metropolis where the world wide pandemic was detected late last year.
“So once your credibility is lost, you will have to find a way to re-establish that,” Stilwell said.
“I think the only way to do that is by bringing in neutral observers to help understand exactly what happened there.”
Hello and welcome to a new coronavirus blog with me, Helen Sullivan. I’ll be bringing you the latest pandemic news from around the world for the next few hours.
You could possibly get in touch with me directly on Twitter @helenrsullivan, or via email: [email protected] Questions, comments, jokes, news, recommendations, and, naturally, compliments all welcome.
The United States on Thursday questioned China’s credibility on reporting fresh coronavirus cases in Beijing and called for neutral observers to assess the extent of the outbreak. China has locked down the main city as it seeks to stop a second wave of Covid-19, reporting 158 cases since a fresh cluster was detected last week.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an outspoken critic of China, urged greater transparency throughout talks Wednesday in Hawaii with senior Chinese official Yang Jiechi, as David Stilwell, the very best US diplomat for East Asia who accompanied Pompeo, said ““I would hope that their numbers and their reporting are more accurate than what we saw in the case of Wuhan and other places in the PRC, but that remains to be seen.”
Meanwhile, as the world wide death toll passed 450,000 on Thursday, the World Health Organization said that a few hundred million Covid-19 vaccine doses might be produced by the end of the season – and start to become targeted at those most at risk of the virus. The UN health agency said it was focusing on that assumption, with a view to two billion doses by the end of 2021, as pharmaceutical firms rush to find a vaccine.
Here are the other key developments from the previous couple of hours:
- Global death toll from Covid-19 passes 450,000. The number of people who have lost their lives in the pandemic up to now stands at 451,118, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. There are 8,421,357 known cases world wide. Both figures are likely to be higher, due to differing testing rates and definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting.
- Canada reaches 100,000 Covid-19 cases. Canada reached 100,000 cases of coronavirus on Thursday. The province of Ontario announced another 190 cases per day after public health agency data showed 99,853 people have been diagnosed positive. That pushed the country on the 100,000 mark and into 17th place on the global list.
- Iran nearing 10,000 deaths from Covid-19. Iran is approaching 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak in the country, based on official figures from the Ministry of Health. There have been not exactly 200,000 people infected with the newest coronavirus in the Islamic Republic and the number deaths in a single day from the pandemic topped 100 for the first time in two months on Sunday.
- WHO condemns football festivities in Italy as ‘reckless’. The World Health Organization has condemned as “reckless” celebrations on the streets of Naples in Italy after Napoli’s 4-2 penalty win over Juventus in the Coppa Italia. Large crowds of fans congregated in the city, ignoring social distancing rules set up to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
- Chinese medical expert says coronavirus in check in Beijing. “The epidemic in Beijing has been brought under control,” said Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of China’s Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, although that he said the main city can still expect sporadic new cases. The city has recorded 158 infections since confirming the first on 11 June in its worst outbreak since early February, that has been traced to the sprawling wholesale food centre of Xinfadi in the south-west of the city.
- WHO hopes hundreds of millions of vaccine doses can be produced this year. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said: “I’m hopeful, I’m optimistic. But vaccine development is a complex undertaking, it comes with a lot of uncertainty”. She added: “The good thing is, we have many vaccines and platforms so even if the first one fails, or the second ones fails, we shouldn’t lose hope, we shouldn’t give up.”
- Thousands quarantined in Germany after local outbreak. In Germany’s western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, around 7,000 people have been placed in quarantine and schools and kindergartens have been closed after an outbreak of coronavirus. The spread is believed to attended from Tönnies, a meat processing plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, where there were 657 confirmed cases of the virus. Elsewhere, Martin Hikel, mayor in the southern Berlin district of Neukölln, has said authorities are attempting to trace the origins of a worrying new spread of herpes there, that has so far infected around 70 local residents.
- New York to reopen hairdressers, shops and outdoor dining spaces. The city will begin phase two of reopening on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday, citing continued improvements in coronavirus data. Offices, in-store retail, outdoor dining, hair salons and barbershops are among the organizations allowed to reopen their doors during phase two.