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About 20 novel coronavirus vaccines in development worldwide — WHO

Their first clinic trials are already starting

GENEVA, March 21. /TASS/. About 20 vaccines against the novel coronavirus are currently being developed worldwide, said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO’s emergencies program.

"At least 20 vaccines are in development for COVID-19. Their first clinic trials are already starting," she said.

"We are still some time away before we would have a vaccine that could be used, and they still need to go through the trials for efficacy, but this work is under way, and we are very grateful to all the partners who are working to get these clinical trials under way," Van Kerkhove added.

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies program, said that all the necessary tests should be carried out with due precautions.

"There is only one thing more dangerous that a bad virus, and that’s a bad vaccine," he said. "We have to be very, very careful in developing any product that we are going to inject into potentially most of the world’s population."

"To be eight weeks into a major event of a new disease and have a vaccine going into the arm of a volunteer this week is just unprecedented in its speed, and that would never have happened had countries not put the genetic sequences up in public," he added.

However, Ryan said that the WHO will face another challenge once the vaccine is developed, and that is making it available to everyone.

"Even if we get a vaccine that’s effective, we have to have that vaccine that’s available for everybody. There has to be fair and equitable access to that vaccine for everybody," Ryan said.

He added that the world won’t be completely protected from the disease unless everybody is vaccinated.

A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December 2019. Cases of the new coronavirus have also been reported from more than 150 countries and territories, including Russia, which by now has 253 cases. The World Health Organization says that the novel coronavirus cases across the globe have exceeded 260,000, with more than 11,000 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially described the situation with the novel coronavirus as a pandemic.