WHO Director-General says vaccines are not the only tool to fight COVID-19

Vaccines for the virus have been approved for emergency use only in many parts of the world but continue to undergo experimental trials
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The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom, spoke at a consultation earlier this week, saying vaccines are not the only tool that can be used in the fight against COVID-19.

He said vaccines are a powerful tool but serve no purpose in aiding those “who are already sick with COVID-19, and are now in hospital with [the] severe disease.”

He explained a case of COVID-19 that occurred in April 2020. As part of a trial, the man was treated with oxygen and dexamethasone and told BBC that “the treatment had probably saved his life”. 

Adhanom explained that in February 2020, WHO researchers “identified the development of effective therapeutics as a key priority,” which still remains a key priority.

Last April, WHO and partners launched the “Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator,” meant to “speed up the development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, and to distribute them fairly”. 

He added that the trial last year was a “significant scientific success, even though it showed that the four therapeutics studied had little or no effect against COVID-19”.

For the moment, WHO researchers are stating that oxygen and dexamethasone are saving lives and are continuing to review evidence on other drugs such as Tociluzumab.

He concluded that there is an “urgent need” for more research to help in the effort of identifying which therapeutic agents are the most promising and to understand the best way of using them.

“None of us can do this alone. Collaboration, coordination and transparent sharing of information are absolutely essential at every stage of the process.”

Other potential tools to fight COVID-19

As vaccines remain authorized for emergency-use only and are still undergoing experimental trials, some are turning to other methods of protecting themselves against the virus.

Some research studies have found that vitamin D can help boost the immune system and help it fight against the virus.

Another study found that people with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to test positive for the virus than those who have sufficient levels of the vitamin.

A study by Oxford University found that a certain asthma treatment can help with COVID-19 symptoms and speed up recovery. Budesonide is a steroid often used in asthma treatments, but some researchers believe it can also reduce the likelihood of hospitalization due to COVID-19.

While it cannot be verified whether any vitamins or supplements can truly aid in fighting against COVID-19, vaccines are also still undergoing research and trials. COVID-19 vaccines were produced in record time and little is still known about potential side effects. 



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