- Several coronavirus vaccine trials will soon be completed, and some of the pioneers may be found to be safe and effective for emergency use.
- World Health Organization health officials and Dr Anthony Fauci warn that the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines will not be enough to reduce the transmission of the disease anytime soon.
- Fauci says precautionary measures, including face masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing, will need to continue even after the vaccines arrive.
The FDA will be holding an important meeting on the coronavirus vaccine in just a few weeks, when we may find more details on the progress of the investigational drugs that have reached the final stages of testing. The candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca / Oxford, Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have Phase 3 trials underway and some of them expect to have conclusions in the coming months – one of them has been suspended the US trial after an unexpected side effect in one person, although the UK trial has already been restarted. Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccine candidates are also advancing with promising results, the latter just reaching phase 3. This represents just five potential COVID-19 vaccines out of dozens of candidates announced so far. China and Russia have their own vaccines in Phase 3 trials, and both countries have already started administering emergency vaccines.
Vaccination remains a sensitive topic as more and more polls show Americans are increasingly reluctant to get one. Some people are concerned about the safety of these drugs which have progressed at such an unusual speed, especially in light of the highly politicized nature of the vaccine conversations leading up to the November election. A large percentage of the world’s population will need to be vaccinated to reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19. The logistics of vaccine manufacturing and deployment combined with vaccine resistance would lead to something that might seem counterintuitive. The arrival of vaccines will not mark the end of the need to wear face masks and take other precautionary measures that can prevent infection. Quite the opposite, as Dr Anthony Fauci and officials from the World Health Organization recently explained.
Fauci said Thursday that no vaccine for the coronavirus would be 100% effective and that it would not be taken by 100% of the population. This will allow the virus to continue to spread. An effective vaccine would therefore not mean that people can stop wearing face masks and taking other public health measures, such as social distancing and washing their hands regularly.
“This is not going to eliminate the need to be careful and cautious with our public health measures,” Fauci said during a Facebook Live conversation with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, by Associated press. “I think if we can get 75-80% of the population vaccinated, I think that would be a very good achievement,” Fauci said of the vaccines, noting that he was practical about it.
The doctor also addressed a recent controversy at the CDC regarding aerosol transmission. “There is enough data to say that aerosol transmission is occurring,” Fauci told Murphy. The virus lingers in the air “for a while” instead of dropping to the ground, which happens with larger droplets of saliva.
WHO officials echoed those remarks on Friday when they addressed the impending stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease will have killed its millionth victim by Monday, according to Covid trackers. The WHO has said that figure could double if countries do not work uniformly to reduce the spread. It is not only vaccines that will prevent the spread of the disease, but also public health measures that can reduce transmission.
“It’s certainly unimaginable, but it’s not impossible, because if we envision losing 1 million people in nine months, and then just look at the realities of getting vaccines to market in the next nine months, that’s an important task for everyone involved ”. The executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, Dr Mike Ryan, said at a press conference in Geneva. “The real question is: are we collectively prepared to do what it takes to avoid this number?”
Like Fauci, Ryan said vaccines need to be paired with anything that can prevent infection, including face masks.
“The time to act is now on every aspect of this strategic approach,” Ryan said. “Not just tests and traces, not just clinical care, not just social distances, not just hygiene measures, not just masks, not just vaccines. Does everything. And unless we do it all [2 million deaths] are not only imaginable but unfortunately and unfortunately very probable. ”
WHO pandemic technical officer Maria Van Kerkhove has warned that the number of cases in Europe is increasing and the flu season has not even started. “We’re at the end of September, not even near the end of September, and we haven’t even started our flu season yet,” she said. “What worries us is the possibility that these trends are going in the wrong direction.”
Dr Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the WHO Director-General, argued that the end of the game shouldn’t be vaccines. “Whether another million people die from Covid-19 doesn’t depend on whether or not we have a vaccine. It depends on whether or not we put the tools, approaches and knowledge we have today to save lives and prevent transmission, ”Aylward said. “If we start to think about it in terms of the vaccine, people will die needlessly and unacceptably while waiting for a vaccine. We shouldn’t wait.