Saturday, July 24, 2021
ADVT 
International

UN: 'Concerning news' vaccines may not work against variants

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 08 Feb, 2021 06:54 PM
  • UN: 'Concerning news' vaccines may not work against variants

The head of the World Health Organization said Monday the emergence of new COVID-19 variants has raised questions about whether or not existing vaccines will work, calling it “concerning news” that the vaccines developed so far may be less effective against the variant first detected in South Africa.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing that South Africa’s decision on Sunday to suspend its vaccination campaign using the AstraZeneca vaccine is “a reminder that we need to do everything we can to reduce circulation of the virus with proven public health measures.”

He said it was increasingly clear that vaccine manufacturers would need to tweak their existing shots to address the ongoing genetic evolution of the coronavirus, saying booster shots would most likely be necessary, especially since new variants of the virus are now spreading globally and appear likely to become the predominant strains.

Tedros added that WHO expected to make a decision “in the next few days” on whether it would recommend an emergency use listing for the AstraZeneca vaccine. That designation would allow millions of doses to be shipped to poor countries as part of a U.N.-backed effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines worldwide known as COVAX.

Last week, Tedros said that more than three quarters of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in just 10 countries and that immunization in nearly 130 countries had yet to start. Despite WHO's aim of starting COVID-19 vaccination in poor countries at the same time as wealthy countries, COVAX hasn't delivered any vaccine doses anywhere.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO's chief scientist, said people shouldn't conclude from South Africa's decision that the AstraZeneca vaccine doesn't work. She said all of the available evidence to date shows the vaccines developed so far reduce deaths, hospitalizations and severe disease.

Other COVID-19 vaccines developed by Novavax, Pfizer and BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson also appear to be less effective against the strain first identified in South Africa, although they may prevent severe disease.

MORE International ARTICLES

Biden to enact tough new Buy American rules today

Biden to enact tough new Buy American rules today

The order would also establish a new Made-in-America office in the White House to oversee the new rules and ensure they are properly enforced.

Biden to enact tough new Buy American rules today

Biden revokes Trump report promoting 'patriotic education'

Biden revokes Trump report promoting 'patriotic education'

Historians widely panned the report, saying it offers a false and outdated version of American history that ignores decades of research.

Biden revokes Trump report promoting 'patriotic education'

Relief, unease as Trump departs, Biden takes oath

Relief, unease as Trump departs, Biden takes oath

By the time Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president, Trump was in Florida — a fitting split-screen end to one of the most acrimonious periods in American history.

Relief, unease as Trump departs, Biden takes oath

Historic second impeachment looms for Trump

Historic second impeachment looms for Trump

She pilloried the president for his relentless and fictional claims of a stolen presidential election, sowing doubt about democracy and urging state officials to "repeal reality."

Historic second impeachment looms for Trump

U.S. House embarks on effort to push out Trump

U.S. House embarks on effort to push out Trump

Democratic lawmakers introduced a resolution today calling on Vice-President Mike Pence and the federal cabinet to remove Trump on the grounds he is unfit to lead.

U.S. House embarks on effort to push out Trump

Trump, after nod to loss, embraces his supporters

Trump, after nod to loss, embraces his supporters

Media reports suggest Vice-President Mike Pence won't support their other option: a constitutional rule that allows an unfit commander-in-chief to be removed from office.

Trump, after nod to loss, embraces his supporters