The World Health Organization on Tuesday said that a 'safe and effective' vaccine against COVID-19 may be ready by year-end.
"We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine. There is hope," said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the meeting of the organisation’s executive board.
Nine experimental vaccines are in various stages of development at the WHO-led COVAX global vaccine facility.
"Especially for the vaccines and other products which are in the pipeline, the most important tool is political commitment from our leaders especially in the equitable distribution of the vaccines," Dr Tedros said.
The COVAX facility is led by the WHO and the public-private partnership GAVI vaccine alliance. Countries that sign on to COVAX will get access to a broad portfolio of new vaccine candidates. So far about 168 countries have joined the COVAX facility, though China, US and Russia have not.
The WHO director-general called for solidarity and political commitment by all leaders to ensure equal distribution of vaccines when they become available. "We need each other, we need solidarity and we need to use all the energy we have to fight the virus," he said.