Once-in-a-Century Pandemic Awaits Vaccine

The Coronavirus pandemic is one such disease whose effect will last for decades, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday. With nearly 18 million people infected worldwide and still counting, the Novel Coronavirus doesn’t seem to stop its rampage across the globe even after seven months of the outbreak.

The 1918 Spanish flu was the last pandemic in the living memory at this scale, leaving scientists and experts struggling to make sense of the deadly virus and find a cure for 7.2 billion people on this planet.

The WHO director made the statement after the emergency committee examined the situation for about six months.

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come,” Tedros told a meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee, according to remarks released by the agency.

The Coronavirus pandemic has so far killed more than 6.8 lakh people across the globe after the first case was recorded in China last December.

The virus in recent weeks has particularly hit the United States, Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom, as their governments struggle to come up with an adequate response.

Economies around the world have been hit by lockdown and travel restrictions introduced to curb its spread, while many regions are fearful of a second wave.

Meanwhile, more than about 150 pharmaceutical companies are working on vaccines, although their first use cannot be expected until early 2021, as per statements issued by WHO last week.

Although knowledge about the new virus has advanced, there are many unanswered questions, making the population remain vulnerable.

The global health watchdog has been severely criticised for the delay in declaring the pandemic an international emergency. The US accused the organisation of being “close” to China and withdrew its funding from the organisation in July.

Tedros further added that “Early results from serology studies are painting a consistent picture: most of the world’s people remain susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks.”

“Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths. And some that had large outbreaks have brought them under control.”

The medical fraternity has been working at neck break speed to come up with a sure shot vaccine for Coronavirus, but many have failed in carrying out clinical trials at the very last stage.

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