WHO Director-General reports that vaccines are in development stage

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, via his official Twitter handle, noted vaccines for the virus are currently in the development stage. The U.K. government announced early in February it would donate £20 million ($26 million) to help fund the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. Although it could take a year to develop a vaccine, researchers are working around the clock, to wit:

  • Companies such as Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, and Novavax have been reported to be developing coronavirus vaccines.
  • A total of 30 therapies are planned to be tested, including few traditional medicines, by Chinese scientists.
  • Meanwhile, clinical-stage biotech company GeoVax signed a letter of intent with BravoVax, a vaccine developer based in Wuhan, China, to jointly develop a coronavirus vaccine using genetic sequences of the 2019-nCoV.
  • NanoViricides, a clinical-stage company, is working on developing a treatment for nCoV-2019 using its nanoviricide® technology. The company’s technology is used to develop ligands that can bind to the virus in the same way as a cognate receptor and attack various points of the virus.
  • Vir Biotechnology, a clinical-stage immunology company, announced on 12 February that it has identified two monoclonal antibodies that can bind to the virus that causes COVID-19. The antibodies target the spike (S) protein of the virus by entering through the cellular receptor ACE2.

WHO Director-General Tedros expressed his gratitude towards health workers across the globe doing everything possible to contain and end the spread of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus).

WHO Director-General

WHO Director-General maps out plans

Previously, he has said that it was too early to declare that the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) has hit his peak. He made this statement at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, a day after China recorded its highest since the outbreak began late last year.

According to the WHO director-general, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has officially been named COVID-19. He added that the epidemic could still go in any direction, noting that it was too soon to tell if the coronavirus has hit its peak after the number of new contamination is dropping.

Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s health emergency program, urged the general public to be cautious as the number of newly reported cases has stabilized over the past week.

He said:

There has been a constant increase in cases recorded within China’s Hubei province, but we haven’t seen that same acceleration in provinces outside Huebi.

To this end, the WHO director-general announced it would hold a summit next week in Geneva. World-leading experts on coronaviruses are slated to exchange expertise on possible sources of the virus, how it is spread, and the creation of a potential vaccine.

Health experts will also exchange information on developing a faster diagnosis method for the detection of the new strain.

Currently, WHO officials report 44,730 cases of coronavirus recorded and 1,114 deaths. Outside of China, the count stands at 441 cases across 24 countries and one death.

Notably, China recently announced the completion of a second new hospital to isolate and treat patients of the coronavirus.

WHO Director-General thanked Cambodia for offering to take in a cruise ship that has been refused port in several countries over the fear of the virus. Although some individuals from the ship have tested negative to the disease.

Also, a study recently published in The Lancet found that coronavirus cannot be transferred from mother to child through pregnancy.

The study authors warned that the evidence should be considered preliminary due to the small study group of just nine women, noting many medical details about that case are missing.

The study comes after news that a newborn tested positive for the virus roughly 30 hours after the mother, who had the virus, gave birth.

Pope prays for coronavirus victims

Pope Francis recently had a prayer for victims of the coronavirus, during his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

He said:

A prayer goes out to our Chinese brothers and sisters who are suffering from such a cruel disease, may they find the road to recovery as soon as possible.