The global efforts to manufacture a safe and efficient coronavirus vaccine are now reaching the climax with several vaccine candidates now in the late stages of clinical trials. World Health Organisation has, however, advised patience by saying that late-stage trials do not mean that the vaccine is ‘nearly there’.
WHO Executive Director Mike Ryan, during a virtual panel discussion, said, “Phase three doesn’t mean nearly there. Phase three means this is the first time this vaccine has been put into the general population into otherwise healthy individuals to see if the vaccine will protect them against natural infection.”
Dr Ryan referred to at least 6 potential vaccines in he phase 3 of human trials from companies like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Up until now, all the trials have been focused on safety and ensuring the vaccines generate an immune response in a small number of people, he said. “They are sort of gates that the vaccine has to go through. This is not a gate. It is a race for the vaccine now to demonstrate that it can protect large numbers of people.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, further adding to the subject, said that “we cannot say that we have vaccines. We may or may not.”
Dr Tedros said that while there was hope that the scientists will find a safe and effective vaccine, there is never a guarantee.
Several realistic scenarios have slated the vaccine for a launch at either late this year or early next year.