WHO sees progress in COVID-19 vaccine race, says progress needed to protect vulnerable nations

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it had seen progress in the COVID-19 vaccine race and urged wealthier nations to double their spending to make sure they have access to all the COVID-19 vaccines when they are later developed and distributed.

“What we have seen is that really ? has been little progress over the last few years, ” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the Executive Board of the WHO’s annual ministerial assembly. “My message to those who are particularly vulnerable – Lebanon, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Sudan – is that you cannot do this overnight, ” he said.

Lebanon declared its state of emergency on Friday, of which 13, 000 people have been infected. It will last three months and is due to expire at the end of this week.

Manulis said that the WHO had not & appointed anyone, “although obviously we would like to say it, ” adding that the WHO would do its its best to ensure it has a full democratic mandate, which would mean it would implement a new strategy for managing the pandemic.

“It would certainly help us, ” he said, recalling the 1990s when the WHO bought thousands of doses of an experimental malaria vaccine hopeful to prevent malaria in children at the urging of Australian scientists.

The WHO is keen for vaccines to reach any country that has proven they are effective. But more advanced economies could also see greater availability as well – acknowledging things have slid from authorities’ fantasies.

“What we want is to have access to every (COVID-19) vaccine seller around the world, ” Tedros said. “If you are one of the 14 products there that have been approved, and I hope that you are not, then without question the answer is yes. ”

Lebanon has paid for the first COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing campaign paid with public money and has bought hundreds of thousands of doses in batches, which he said would be running through companies.

Malaysian President Joko Widodo said dozens of Malaysian health workers have tested positive for the disease. The hospital timetable this week for testing any such cases would be reviewed.

The final phase of the recommendations to help countries securing vaccine supplies is not yet finalised, Tedros said, but they were there.

“At least 85 percent of vaccines will likely be available, ” he told the annual assembly. “We are not at characterisation (. . . ) but at least 85 percent” of manufacturers will have adequate capacity, he said.

Merck KGaA’s research and development arm into the growth of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate said its trial would be expanded to also include all the active ingredients identified in Merck’s version of a COVID-19-causing ingredient, and not just one strain.

Merck’s deal with the WHO for an initial five-year price of $883 million will fund the eventual bid for Merck’s 75 percent share of the COVID-19 vaccine market, which the WHO estimates will be worth about $50 billion.

New Zealand will spend $425 million to secure 90 million shots of Merck’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate pending regulatory approval.

Johnson & Johnson’s $328 million advance in trial of its vaccine candidate to infect the lung of an infectious disease patient ended this month when the final stage trials were concluded.

The Swiss company’s deal with the WHO is due to be presented in a presentation at its annual meeting in September.

Merck’s stock was down 16 percent at $42. 77 on Tuesday, while MerckSA, which bought Roche Roche ROG. S last year, gained 1 percent. Britain’s Johnson & Johnson [JRNA. L] forecast a 3 percent slide in annual full-year revenue to $4. 7 billion from a year ago due to the pandemic.

U. S. drugmaker Mylan NVMR. N on Monday said it would drop plans to launch an experimental COVID-19 treatment, which has been touted by President Donald Trump, saying gaps in clinical research meant the trial could not be immediately scaled up.

The WHO has said drugs must remain available as a last resort if there is a second wave of infections.

“Do we need to do more research? Yes, ” Tedros said.