International Vaccine Institute for Covid Immunization

COVID-19 vaccination cardholders are handed out at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination room at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club on December 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | beautiful pictures

If 2021 is the year of vaccine development, 2022 will be the year marked by vaccination and booster vaccination, according to a leading expert.

Jerome Kim, director general of the International Vaccine Institute, an independent nonprofit dedicated to vaccine research for poor countries.

Kim told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday that it is hoped that this will also be the year that marks the development of drugs to fight Covid and make treatment more effective.

At the end of December, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized two Covid-19 antiviral tablets for emergency use, marking a major milestone in the fight against the virus. The virus has killed more than 5.4 million people worldwide since it emerged in late 2019.

Pfizer Covid treatment pills, called Paxlovid, was the first oral antiviral drug approved for emergency use in the U.S. Another drug was Merck . Antiviral Tablets – called molnupiravir – is approved for use in adults with mild to moderate Covid-19 who are at risk of severe illness.

As 2021 draws to a close, the more transmissible omicron variant has emerged and cases around the world have increased in recent weeks.

Last week, caseload in the US hits a record high. According to Johns Hopkins University data, the number of daily new cases nationwide hit a seven-day record of more than 265,000 on Tuesday. It has surpassed the previous high of about 252,000 daily average cases set on January 11 of last year, the data showed.

In Asia, South Korea on Friday said it would expand restrictions after an increase in serious Covid infections.

Vaccinate those who need it

A top priority in 2022 is to vaccinate those who need them – especially those in poorer countries who have limited access to them, Kim said.

“One really important point to make – omicrons are not omega and we will see other mutations and variants that need attention, and hopefully we become more equitable in the use of vaccines,” he said. -ask for”.

“More and more, bow [of vaccines] won’t be a problem. The problem will be: Who can get that vaccine into the hands of the people who need it. That will be the key for 2022, which is getting everyone vaccinated,” Kim said, adding that there is a “significant number of people” in low-income countries who are unvaccinated. a dose of vaccine.

About 58.3% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, but only 8.5% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.

World must address ‘diagnostic loopholes’

Kim also highlighted the so-called “diagnostic gap” at the diagnostic stage of Covid-19.

“That implies that in lower-income countries they don’t do as many tests and certainly don’t do as many series,” he said. Such genome sequencing efforts of coronavirus case samples help track down new variants.

He added that countries need to “much better deal” with such divisions.

“It’s the sequencing of variants from around the world that lets scientists know if a worrying new variant is emerging,” Kim said. “Getting to it as quickly as possible is key if we want to open it up, because we know that air travel spreads the coronavirus quite effectively.”


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