No silver bullet for Covid-19 and there might never be: WHO

New Delhi (NVI): WHO today said that a number of Covid-19 vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and a number of effective vaccines are expected that can help prevent people from the infection but there is no silver bullet at the moment to fight coronavirus and there might never be.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the remarks while addressing the virtual media-briefing on Covid-19 today. “For now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control. Testing, isolating and treating patients, and tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all. Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all,” he said.

Tedros also said that some countries which had experienced the worst of spikes and appeared to have recovered were now witnessing fresh spikes.

“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,” he said.

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

He said it is not easy to control the pandemic and that strict measures may cause their own problems for delivery of essential health services, the economy and societies overall.

The WHO DG further stated that on Friday, the Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met and reviewed the current pandemic.”At the time, 30 January, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China. When the Committee met three months ago, three million cases of COVID-19 had been reported to WHO, and more than 200,000 deaths.

“Since then, the number of cases has increased more than fivefold to 17.5 million, and the number of deaths has more than tripled, to 680,000,” he said.

In addition to the direct toll COVID-19 is having, the Committee noted the health impact that disrupted services are having on a range of other diseases, he said.

He further stated that one of the areas that WHO has been continuing to study is the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19. “The WHO advance team that travelled to China has now concluded their mission to lay the groundwork for further joint efforts to identify the virus origins,” he said.

As a result of these efforts, WHO and Chinese experts have drafted the Terms of Reference for the studies and programme of work for an international team, led by WHO, he said.

The international team will include leading scientists and researchers from China and around the world. Epidemiological studies will begin in Wuhan to identify the potential source of infection of the early cases. Evidence and hypotheses generated through this work will lay the ground for further, longer-term studies, Tedros said at the briefing.

The novel coronavirus has killed nearly 6,90,000 people and infected at least 18.1 million since the outbreak of the deadly virus in Wuhan, China in December last year.

-ARK