Because the search for a vaccine is a demanding and uncertain journey, the World Health Organization (WHO) undoubtedly sought to temper expectations by declaring on Monday that there might never be a miracle solution against the COVID-19 pandemic, analyzes a Quebec specialist.
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“There is no panacea and there may never be,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference.
“Clinical trials give us hope. This does not necessarily mean that we will have an effective vaccine, especially over time, he said.
This is why, he insisted, the populations must continue to practice preventive measures such as physical distance, wearing a mask and hygiene.
For their part, leaders must “test, isolate and treat patients, search and quarantine their contacts”, even “when it’s under control.”
The head of the UN agency worried that “several countries which seemed to have passed the hardest[aient] new outbreaks ”.
The WHO “always leans in the direction of caution”, analyzes the vice-dean for research and development at the faculty of medicine of the University of Montreal, Christian Baron.
According to him, the international organization undoubtedly wanted to “put the caveats”, because “we cannot be sure that such and such a vaccine will arrive and that it will arrive very quickly”.
There are now 165 vaccine candidates under study around the world, six of which have entered or are authorized to begin phase 3 trials in humans, the results of which are not yet known.
This does not prevent the US government from dangling the availability of a vaccine at the turn of the next year.
However, although all this is encouraging, and despite the titanic efforts in place, no one can yet guarantee the effectiveness of vaccines in development, even the most advanced, nuances Mr. Baron.
If so, their degree of effectiveness is not known either, as is the period during which they could protect us.
“It is only level 3 studies that will give us answers on this subject,” insists Mr. Baron.
Hopes for now rest on conclusive animal trials and Phase 1 and 2 studies of antibody creation in small groups of humans, among others.
For his part, Baron does not want to predict when a first vaccine against COVID-19 could be offered, but he is “quite optimistic” that a vaccine will be discovered eventually.
– With the collaboration of AFP