- U.S. Food and Drug Administration calls for expediting vaccine development
- Russia has already granted regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine
- The WHO has used experimental drugs to combat Ebola in Africa: WHO
Geneva: The emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines requires a “great deal of seriousness and reflection”, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday after the United States announced it was considering fast-tracking candidate drugs. Although every country had the right to approve drugs without completing full trials, “it is not something that you do very lightly”, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a news conference.
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The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said he would be willing to bypass the normal approval process to authorise a COVID-19 vaccine as long as officials were convinced the benefits outweigh the risks.
Russia has already granted regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine this month after less than two months of human testing, prompting some Western experts to question its safety and efficacy.
The WHO’s preferred approach would be to have a full set of data which could be used for the pre-qualification of vaccines, Ms. Swaminathan said. The WHO would then consider the efficacy and safety of each drug on a case by case basis, she added.
The WHO has used experimental drugs to combat Ebola in Africa, a measure which proved successful, Mike Ryan, the head of the organisation’s emergencies programme, said.
But he stressed that a fast-track approach without full trials required intensive monitoring and safety follow-up work, and should be halted immediately if problems occur.
If you move too quickly to vaccinate … millions of people, you may miss certain adverse effects, Mr. Ryan said.
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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.