WHO chief warns about more dangerous strain of new COVID-19

 The World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned about the possibility of a new novel coronavirus strain that would be more dangerous than the delta variant.

"The more transmission, the more variants will emerge with the potential to be even more dangerous than the Delta variant that is causing such devastation now," he said. "And the more variants, the higher the likelihood that one of them will evade vaccines and take us all back to square one."

In his words, the novel coronavirus pandemic is a test, and the global community is failing to cope with it.

"It’s a question I am often asked, and which the people of the world are asking: when will this pandemic end? Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has asked us many questions: About ourselves; and about our world," the official said during his opening remarks at the 138th International Olympic Committee Session. "The pandemic is a test. And the world is failing."

"In the time it takes me to make these remarks, more than 100 people will lose their lives to COVID-19," he continued. "And by the time the Olympic flame is extinguished on the 8th of August, more than 100 thousand more people will perish."

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was sure that the reason why the world is still unable to tackle the pandemic despite having all the necessary instruments is the lack of real political commitments.

"The governments of G20 countries, in particular, must show leadership to ensure the urgent scale-up and deployment of the tools needed to save lives," he said. "If they choose to, the world’s leading economies could bring the pandemic under control globally in a matter of months by sharing doses through COVAX, funding the ACT Accelerator, and incentivizing manufacturers to do whatever it takes to scale up production."

Vaccination goal

Vaccinating 70% of every country’s population would allow not only to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic, but also to restart the global economy, Ghebreyesus said.

"Together with the heads of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, I have called for a massive global push to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by September, at least 40% by the end of the year, and 70% by mid-next year," the official said during his opening remarks at the 138th International Olympic Committee Session. "If we can reach those targets, we can not only end the pandemic, we can also reboot the global economy."

In his words, the world needs 11 billion doses of vaccines to achieve this goal.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made a call to companies and businesses, saying they "have a social responsibility."

"Most vaccines were developed with public funds. Many companies have made commitments to sharing doses, but many of those commitments are yet to be fulfilled," the WHO chief said, adding that "with so many lives on the line, profits and patents must come second."

"If nations can mobilize the power of industry for war, why can they not do the same to defeat this common enemy?" he added.

First batch of Sputnik V vaccine produced in Vietnam 

The first batch of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine was produced in Vietnam, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

"The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund), and Vabiotech, one of Vietnam’s leading pharmaceutical companies, announce the production of a test batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus. The first validation samples taken from the produced batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center for the quality control. RDIF and Vabiotech are actively implementing the technology transfer. Sputnik V was granted the approval by the Ministry of Health of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on March 23, 2021," the statement said.

"RDIF and Vabiotech are actively cooperating in the technology transfer process to provide easier access to Sputnik V for population of Vietnam. As the pandemic is yet far from over and new, more dangerous variants of coronavirus are being detected in various regions of the world, RDIF is increasing capacities for production of Sputnik V to speed up the vaccination with one of the best vaccines in the world," CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev commented on the news.

"It is our great pleasure to work with RDIF to bring Sputnik V to Vietnam to fight the pandemic. We hope the cooperation between RDIF and Vabiotech will help provide quality and affordable COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries," President of Vabiotech Dr. Dat Tuan Do said.

At the moment, Sputnik V has been registered in 68 countries with a total population of over 3.7 bln people. Sputnik V is based on human adenoviral vectors and uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination, providing immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.(TASS)


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