Vac­cine: WHO warns there may be no ‘sil­ver bul­let’ for virus

Irish Independent - - Front Page - Anne Gullard

THERE might never be a “sil­ver bul­let” treat­ment for coro­n­avirus, the di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) said.

Dr Te­dros Ad­hanom Ghe­breye­sus said yes­ter­day: “A num­ber of vac­cines are now in phase-three clin­i­cal tri­als and we all hope to have a num­ber of ef­fec­tive vac­cines that can help pre­vent peo­ple from in­fec­tion. How­ever, there’s no sil­ver bul­let at the mo­ment and there might never be.”

His re­marks came fol­low­ing a meet­ing of the WHO-con­vened emer­gency com­mit­tee of in­ter­na­tional ex­perts on Fri­day. He also said that wear­ing a face mask sent a mes­sage of sol­i­dar­ity as he urged coun­tries to con­tinue with the “ba­sics” of pub­lic health to bring the pan­demic to an end.

Dur­ing an on­line press brief­ing, Dr Te­dros said wear­ing a face mask, hand-wash­ing and so­cial dis­tanc­ing were all vi­tal weapons in the fight against the virus.

He added that he car­ried a mask and hand sani­tiser with him at all times. “By wear­ing a mask, you’re send­ing a pow­er­ful mes­sage to those around you that we’re all in this to­gether,” he said.

“Wear a mask when ap­pro­pri­ate, keep your phys­i­cal dis­tance from oth­ers and avoid crowded places.

“Ob­serve cough­ing eti­quette, clean your hands fre­quently and you’ll be pro­tect­ing your­self and oth­ers.”

He is­sued the warn­ing as the world recorded more than 18 mil­lion cases of the dis­ease, with the United States, Brazil and In­dia con­tin­u­ing to re­port high num­bers of new in­fec­tions. Other coun­tries, such as Aus­tralia and Viet­nam, are also see­ing a resur­gence.

Dr Te­dros stressed that there would be no “sil­ver bul­let” for bring­ing the pan­demic to an end.

In­stead, he urged coun­tries to con­tinue with the ba­sics of test­ing, iso­lat­ing and treat­ing pa­tients and trac­ing and quar­an­tin­ing their con­tacts.

“Over the past week, we’ve seen sev­eral coun­tries that ap­peared as though they were past the worst now con­tend­ing with fresh spikes in cases.

“How­ever, we’ve also seen how some coun­tries, re­gions or lo­cal­i­ties that had a high num­ber of cases are bring­ing the out­break un­der con­trol.”

He added: “The mes­sage to peo­ple and gov­ern­ments is clear: do it all. And when Covid-19 is un­der con­trol, keep go­ing. Keep strength­en­ing the health sys­tem. Keep im­prov­ing sur­veil­lance, con­tract trac­ing and en­sure dis­rupted health ser­vices are restarted as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Ir­ish­man Dr Mike Ryan, the WHO’s head of emer­gen­cies, said that coun­tries with high trans­mis­sion rates, in­clud­ing Brazil and In­dia, needed to be pre­pared for a long jour­ney ahead. “The way out is long and re­quires a sus­tained com­mit­ment,” he said. (© Daily Tele­graph, Lon­don)

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