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A hand still empty but full of hope

António Bilrero*

The World Health Organization (WHO) is aware that 163 vaccines against Covid-19 are being developed globally. The available data indicate that most are still in the pre-clinical development stage, which means that scientists and researchers are experimenting with cells in vitro or in animals. Of those 163 research projects, 23 studies have already advanced to the human testing phase.

The experts say that in the history of mankind [of science and medicine] there has never been such a rapid leap in the development of a vaccine. Without in any way calling into question the good faith, commitment, dedication and intellectual effort of the entire community involved, it is also common sense that the one who first reaches the level of effectiveness required by a vaccine – stop the pandemic and prevent new waves of the disease – discovered a gold mine. Hopefully the good news will be quickly shared across all latitudes and longitudes.

You are facing little more than a hand still full of nothing

For now, six studies have entered (or announced that they will be entering soon) in the third and final phase of testing with humans. This is, roughly speaking, the last phase of the study and one that seeks to demonstrate the effectiveness of the vaccine and, consequently, obtain the health record. It is the phase that precedes mass production. The expectation is therefore unprecedented in this area.

Looking at the origin of this half-dozen more advanced studies, three arrive from China (first country confronted with the new coronavirus) – Sinovac, Sinopharm and CanSino, one from the United Kingdom – Oxford-AstraZeneca, one from the United States – Modern and finally , one from Russia – Gamaleya.

We are facing little more than a hand still full of nothing, but in which humanity has enormous hope. Some experts admit that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could be distributed later this year. The WHO points to 2021 as the probable year for the arrival of the first effective vaccine, warning that there is still a long way to go before immunization reaches the public.

Until that much desired moment, it is expected that citizens and authorities throughout the world will continue to respect and impose containment rules, whenever necessary, to comply with hand hygiene, as recommended and, above all, to use protective masks. . This is a one way path.

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Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

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