WHO warns vaccine may never be found



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned researchers may never manage to develop a coronavirus vaccine that works - and even if they do it could provide only limited protection.

The race is on around the world to create a vaccine, and WHO says promising steps are being made.

However, director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said overnight there might never be a "silver bullet" for COVID-19.

"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," Dr Tedros told a virtual news briefing in Geneva. "However, there's no silver bullet at the moment - and there might never be."

He said the international hunt for a vaccine was historic, but even if one is discovered its success may be limited.


"There are many vaccines under trial, a couple in the final stage of clinical trials, and there is hope," he said.

"It does not mean that we will have the vaccine, but at least the speed with which we reached the level we reached now is unprecedented.

"There are concerns that we may not have a vaccine that may work, or its protection could be for just a few months, not more. But until we finish the clinical trials, we will not know."

He urged nations around the world to enforce health measures like mask-wearing, social distancing, handwashing and testing.

He said face masks should become a symbol of solidarity around the world.

"The message to people and governments is clear: 'Do it all'," he said.

The pandemic has killed at least 690,363 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, with more than 18 million people infected.

The United States has the most deaths with 154,944, followed by Brazil with 94,104, Mexico 47,746, the United Kingdom with 46,210 and India with 38,135 fatalities.

Belgium has the highest per capita death rate with 849 per million of the population.

Overnight, the Philippines has been cast in the international spotlight as President Rodrigo Duterte put the capital Manila and four surrounding provinces back under lockdown from Tuesday, a measure affecting 27 million people.

Since the beginning of June, when much of the country emerged from one of the world's longest stay-at-home orders, confirmed infections in the archipelago have increased fivefold, surging past 100,000.

Meanwhile, in Europe at least 41 passengers and crew on a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19.

Ships carrying more than 100 people - including crew - will be barred from stopping off or disembarking passengers in Norwegian ports for at least two weeks.



Originally published as WHO warns vaccine may never be found