Global recovery will come faster if Covid-19 vaccine available to all says WHO chief

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The World Health Organisation's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (Gallo Images, Getty Images)
The World Health Organisation's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (Gallo Images, Getty Images)
Gallo Images, Getty Images

Economic recovery around the world could come faster if any Covid-19 vaccine is made available to all as a public good, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday.

He was speaking in an online panel discussion with members of the Aspen Security Forum in the United States moderated by the NBC network.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan, asked about a proposed Russian vaccine, told the panel that what was needed now was to ensure any vaccines are safe and effective.

Ryan also said authorities should be able to demonstrate the efficacy of a coronavirus vaccine via traditional clinical trials rather than "human challenge" studies.

He was referring to the intentional exposure of vaccinated volunteers to a virus to see whether the vaccine works.

Tedros also told the panel that US leadership and support on public health had saved many lives.

He said the Trump administration's recent withdrawal from the WHO was not over money but rather the US relationship with the UN agency, saying he hoped Washington would reconsider its stance.

Trump said in a radio interview on Thursday it was possible the United States would have a coronavirus vaccine before the November 3 election - a more optimistic forecast than timing put forth by his own White House health experts.

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