Development of at least one Covid-19 vaccine could be completed before the end of the current year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, saying it hoped “in very optimistic ways “hundreds of millions of doses by the end of 2020.
“If we’re very lucky, there will be one or two vaccine candidates before the end of this year,” said WHO scientific director Soumya Swaminathan at a virtual press conference, adding that more than 200 candidates are under study around the world, and a dozen clinical trials in progress.
The senior WHO official has identified three groups of people who should be vaccinated as a priority: front-line workers such as doctors and police, the most vulnerable such as the elderly, people living in a transmission environment high as urban slums and nursing homes.
“We are assuming that we could have a few hundred million doses by the end of this year, in a very optimistic way,” said Swaminathan, adding: “We hope that by 2021 we will have two billion doses of one, two or three effective vaccines. “
At the end of May, the heads of the pharmaceutical industry also said they believed in a vaccine before 2021, but stressed that the challenges would be considerable, since the world will need two doses of vaccine per person, that is to say 15 billion.
Swaminathan said scientists are analyzing 40,000 genome sequences for the new coronavirus, which has killed more than 450,000 people worldwide, and said it has not mutated in key areas that would alter the severity of the disease.