On Monday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there are around seven or eight “top” candidates for a vaccine against the deadly COVID-19, adding that work on them is being accelerated.
The WHO chief told a U.N. Economic and Social Council video briefing that two months ago the estimated time for creating vaccine was thought to be 12 to 18 months. But, he said, an accelerated effort is under way, helped by 7.4 billion euros ($8 billion) pledged a week ago by leaders from 40 countries, organizations and banks for research, treatment and testing.
He noted that the USD 8 billion will be enough and additional funds would be required to speed up the process of developing a vaccine, but more importantly to produce enough “to make sure that this vaccine reaches everyone — (and) there’s no one be left behind.”
“We have good candidates now,” Tedros said. “The top ones are around seven, eight. But we have more than a hundred candidates.”
“We are focusing on the few candidates we have which can bring probably better results and accelerating those candidates with better potential,” he said.
Since January, he said, “WHO has been working with thousands of researchers all over the world to accelerate and track vaccine development from developing animal models to clinical trial designs and everything in between.”
Tedros said that more than 400 scientists were engaged in vaccine development and diagnostics.
He stressed that the COVID-19 infection is “very contagious and it’s a killer.”
The deadly coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December has so far infected more than 4 million worldwide and killed over 275,000.