First coronavirus vaccine will not stop infections, scientists warn

The first COVID-19 vaccine may only ease symptoms and is unlikely to prevent people from getting the disease, scientists have warned British ministers. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 September 2020

First coronavirus vaccine will not stop infections, scientists warn

  • Whitty said that a vaccine which is between 40 to 60 percent effective is realistic
  • Government advisers are looking for ways to increase the public’s vigilance as the vaccine is introduced

LONDON: The first COVID-19 vaccine may only ease symptoms and is unlikely to prevent people from getting the disease, scientists have warned British ministers.
Scientific advisers to the UK government are expecting the first vaccine to gain regulatory approval to be only partially effective, The Times reported.
They are looking for ways to increase the public’s vigilance as the vaccine is introduced.
England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty previously said that science will eventually “ride to the rescue,” but that the first coronavirus vaccines are unlikely to protect everyone, the Times said.
However, an early vaccine that cuts the risk of critical illness would reduce deaths in high-risk groups and enable life-saving treatment for other diseases.
A team of scientists developing a vaccine at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group have set a minimum target of 50 percent protection.
Whitty said that a vaccine which is between 40 to 60 percent effective is realistic, the Times said.
The head of vaccines at the Wellcome Trust, Charlie Weller, told the newspaper that the first vaccines are likely to have limited effectiveness, and that other preventative measures would need to be taken to control infections.
“There’s a lot of hope, understandably, resting on a vaccine that is going to be this wonderful one dose that will give lifetime immunity and move us back to normality the next day. But it’s not going to be the perfect solution, it’s not going to be the silver bullet,” Weller said.
“We might get a vaccine that’s 50 percent effective, and we might get a vaccine that can prevent disease, but it might not prevent transmission from person to person. We might also get a vaccine that is safe for the majority of adults, but it may not be suitable for everyone with every underlying condition, whether that’s diabetes or asthma, or something else,” he added.


Russia’s coronavirus death toll passes 25,000

Updated 43 min 45 sec ago

Russia’s coronavirus death toll passes 25,000

  • Authorities reported 15,971 new coronavirus infections in the previous 24 hours
MOSCOW: Russia recorded 290 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing its official death toll to 25,242.
Authorities reported 15,971 new coronavirus infections in the previous 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 1,463,306, the fourth highest in the world.