The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that it expects that “millions of doses” of vaccines against COVID-19, the disease causing the new coronavirus, will be available by the end of the year and that 2,000 more will be available by 2021 millions.
There are currently about 300 vaccines in trials and three are close to starting the final phase of human testing, that of the University of Oxford, the RNA vaccine of the Modern company and another one that is being developed in China.
However, the head of WHO scientists, Soumya Swaminathan, has warned that this hypothesis “are not accurate” already depends on the final result of the tests, although she recalled that the United Nations agency works with these assumptions for the acquisition, distribution and fair distribution.
“I am hopeful, I am optimistic, but the development of a vaccine is a complex task, it comes with a lot of uncertainty. The good thing about this is that we have many vaccines and platforms so that, even if the first or the second fails, we do not lose hope and do not give up. If we are lucky there will be one or two successful vaccines at the end of the year, “explained the expert.
That said, he commented that getting these vaccines to those in need depends on those who support and invest in the Covid-19 Global Access Fund for Vaccines, known as COVAX, a mechanism proposed by the GAVI and WHO alliance, such as part of its initiative to accelerate vaccines and treatments against COVID-19.
“We can only do that if the world unites, if countries unite and accept this mechanism. Therefore, we are proposing a framework that could be used to decide who should be prioritized. And I mentioned that you could think of groups of people which should be prioritized. For example, drivers and ambulance workers and other health workers, but also the police, supermarket workers, sanitation workers, these are the people who are very exposed “, commented the expert.
Likewise, Swaminathan has reported that other people at risk who would also benefit from a vaccine are the elderly and those with hypertension, diabetes and dementia. Inmates, nursing homes, factories and urban slums where outbreaks have been identified should also receive the vaccine as a priority,.
“The innovation model today is market driven and the WHO has long said that this affects public health as vaccines are not developed for diseases for which there is no commercial value. So we have to change this model and find other ways to do research and development more focused on public health. Health should not be something that is on the market for monetization, “said the expert.
However, he added, in this pandemic there has been “great solidarity” from the public and private sectors, and clearly from scientists around the world, since knowledge and data are being shared publicly and many of the vaccine manufacturers have He said they would like to provide the vaccines at cost, not for profit.
“That is why the COVAX framework that we are proposing is for people and countries, so that they come together and put their resources in one place, in this way the risk is reduced. We do not know which vaccine the candidates are going to be successful, then if all countries put their resources to a vaccine that in the end does not work, then they will have very little to choose from afterwards, but if they put the resources to a common fund that finances several candidates, and a couple of them They are successful, because they will have more negotiating power and a framework to bring these vaccines to the population that is fair and equal, “said the expert.
The World Health Organization is in weekly talks with countries to reach an agreement to share the possible limited supply of vaccines later this year. Finally, and regarding the patents for questions, the expert commented that licenses can be obtained if everyone agrees, but that the real problem will be having the physical capacity to manufacture the immunizations to the level needed, as well as to distribute them. justly.