Fri. Nov 27th, 2020
(Photo Courtesy: http://www.hbr.org)

ANKARAThe number of total coronavirus cases around the world surpassed 35 million on Monday, less than a week after deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) passed one million, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The United States leads the world with over 7.4 million cases and almost 210,000 deaths, while India had 6.6 million cases and 102,000 deaths, and Brazil had 4.9 million cases with 146,000 deaths.

China, the birthplace of Covid-19, did not show much change since last week with some 90,000 cases and 4,700 deaths, the data showed. Turkey’s overall case tally stood at 324,443 with 8,441 deaths as of Sunday.

With research for a successful vaccine at full pace, there are only 11 at Phase 3 among more than 170 possible candidates tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Apart from Phase 3 efficacy trials, Russia and China have a total of five approved vaccines for early limited use, which did not wait for results of Phase 3.

Russia on August 11 said it registered a Covid-19 vaccine named Sputnik V, and later announced to have orders from 20 countries for one billion doses, with Venezuela receiving the first batch of Sputnik V last Friday.

China’s national pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm provided last month thousands of people with two of their experimental vaccines as part of a government program in July. Another Chinese firm, Sinovac Biotech, announced early September that 90 percent of its employees and their families have taken an experimental vaccine.

In the US, however, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is unlikely to approve a vaccine unless it is proven to be safe and effective by its regulatory standards.

“FDA will not authorize or approve a vaccine we won’t be confident in giving to our families,” Chief Stephen Hahn said on September 23 at a Senate hearing.

The US has implemented Operation Warp Speed in hopes of getting and delivering millions of doses of a vaccine by the end of 2020, as it agreed in July to pay Pfizer and BioNTech $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of their vaccine if it proves safe and effective. It also announced a $1.6 billion agreement with Novavax to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses by January 2021.

Turkish doctors on September 28 gave the first shot of a coronavirus vaccine to a health worker, as Istanbul University’s Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty has begun the Phase 3 trials.

The WHO does not estimate widespread vaccinations against Covid-19 around the world until mid-2021.

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