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Speaking today, the director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus predicted the pandemic would take as long as the Spanish flu outbreak to be eliminated. The Spanish flu took two years to be extinguished before causing 20-50 million deaths across the world. Although the WHO does not usually give predictions on the pandemic, the director-general said he hoped to defeat the pandemic as soon as possible if a vaccine is created.
He said: “We hope to finish this pandemic in less than two years.
“In our situation now with more technology, and of course with more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading, it can move fast because we are more connected now.
“But at the same time we have also the technology to stop it and the knowledge to stop it.
“So we have a disadvantage of globalisation, closeness, connectedness but an advantage of better technology.”
Although he stated the virus could be defeated in two years, the director-general also warned the prediction is heavily based on the prospect of a vaccine being created.
As it stands, there have been an estimated 799,576 deaths at the time of writing, with a further 23,006,461 cases worldwide.
He also warned no country will be able to cope with the virus without having an adequate vaccine which will halt the virus’ progression.
He added: “No country can just ride this out until we have a vaccine.
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“A vaccine will be a vital tool, and we hope that we will have one as soon as possible.
“But there’s no guarantee that we will, and even if we do have a vaccine, it won’t end the pandemic on its own.
“We must all learn to control and manage this virus using the tools we have now, and to make the adjustments to our daily lives that are needed to keep ourselves and each other safe.”
Amid the hunt for a vaccine for the virus, the WHO is negotiating with Russia over the information of the state’s Sputnik V drug.
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Russia became the first country to licence a vaccine for coronavirus and plans to push forward with passing the drug to 40,000 people for further testing.
In the UK, the Government launched the Vaccine Taskforce in April in order to find a drug to combat the virus.
The UK signed a deal for 90 million doses of a vaccine being developed by Belgian pharmaceutical company Janssen and US biotech company Novavax. this month.
There are six vaccines going through experimental stages which takes the total amount of doses to 340 million.
Among the vaccines being developed, Oxford University’s sample has progressed to phase three trials.
In July, the trials involved over 1,000 people and showed the production of antibodies.
However, it is unknown whether there will be enough to offer protection.
Crucially, scientists have not determined how long antibodies remain in the blood system, or indeed whether they provide permanent immunity.
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