WHO envoy says coronavirus vaccine may never come, ‘constant threat’ could be part of life

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Screengrab Fox News

A special envoy to the World Health Organization said the global economy may have to assume that there will not be a coronavirus vaccine, and to plan on operating as if the virus is a “constant threat.”

The sentiment strikes of the reality that the post-9/11 world was never the same as before, but this is the same organization that declared in mid-January that “Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”

At the same time, the economic lock down in America was not done in anticipation of a vaccine, but to “flatten the curve” by slowing the spread of the infection.

In an interview with CNN, Dr. David Nabarro, a professor of global health at Imperial College London, said countries need to position themselves so they can get on with life while continuing to protect against COVID-19.

“There are some viruses that we still do not have vaccines against,” Nabarro said. “We can’t make an absolute assumption that a vaccine all appear at all, or if it does appear, whether it will pass all the tests of efficacy and safety.”

As noted by Fox News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last month the world may never return to the “normal” that was known before the outbreak.

“When we get back to normal, we will go back to the point where we can function as a society,” Fauci observed. “If you want to get back to pre-coronavirus, that might not ever happen in the sense that the threat is there.”

President Donald Trump is far more optimistic about a vaccine.

Appearing at a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday night, the president predicted a coronavirus vaccine may be available by the end of the year.

 

“I think we’ll have a vaccine by the end of the year,” Trump said, adding that he was “very confident” of this. “We’ll have a vaccine much sooner rather than later.”

Moderator Martha MacCallum asked if he was concerned about the potential risks of accelerating a vaccine and human trials.

“No, because they’re volunteers,” Trump replied. “They know what they’re getting into … They want to help the process.”

He acknowledge that this was overly ambitious.

“The doctors would say, ‘Well, you shouldn’t say that.’ I’ll say what I think,” President Trump said later.

Fauci, who has previously suggested a vaccine could be developed in 12-18 months,  said last week during an appearance on  NBC’s “Today” show that it’s “doable.”

“We want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it’s safe and effective,” he said. “I think that is doable if things fall in the right place.”

Citing senior administration officials, NBC News reported Saturday that there are 14 potential coronavirus vaccines under development as part of the administration effort to fast-track one for use as early as January.

The network also reported that Oxford University researcher Sir John Bell said his team hopes to get a “signal” by June about the potential effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

“I think we’ve got reason to believe that the efficacy, the efficacy of the vaccine in terms of generating strong antibody responses, is probably going to be OK,” Bell said. “The real question is whether the safety profile’s going to be fine. So that’s actually the main focus of the clinical studies.”

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Tom Tillison

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