WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- New needle-free COVID-19 vaccines may be available later this year, or early next year, according to a World Health Organization scientist.
- The vaccines can be stored at room temperature and can be administered orally, nasally, and through skin patches.
- Bloomberg reported that only 122 countries out of 195 countries have started inoculating their citizens as vaccine makers struggle to fulfill orders.
Coronavirus vaccines that don’t require a needle may be ready for use later this year or next year, according to Soumya Swaminathan, World Health Organization’s top scientist.
Swaminathan said that six to eight new vaccines may be available for regulatory review by the end of the year. The immunizations in production can be stored at room temperature.
They use alternative technologies and can be delivered by oral and nasal administration. Skin patches, which are better suited to some groups like pregnant women, are also in the works.
Over 80 candidate vaccines are being tested, some of which are in the early stages and could fail, according to Bloomberg.
The media company also reported that only 122 countries out of 195 have started rolling out vaccines as drug manufacturers struggle to fulfill orders.
“We’re thrilled with the vaccines that we have,” said Swaminathan. But “we can improve further. I think, well into 2022, we’re going to see the emergence of improved vaccines.”
Present vaccine makers are also testing updated versions of their shots to make them more effective against deadlier variants of the virus.
The WHO is also reviewing if COVID-19 survivors can be given one shot of the vaccine. That could mean more supplies for those who need them.
Swaminathan raised concern that a one-shot approach could complicate matters in many countries. however, if blood tests are needed to measure antibodies first, according to Bloomberg.
“We are in discussions now with several companies with vaccines in development to see if we could launch something like this on a global trial platform,” the scientist said.
Several European countries have paused using the AstraZeneca vaccine to review its possible negative side-effects, but Swaminathan said: “We do not want people to panic.”
She also noted that there have been no documented deaths associated to COVID-19 vaccines.
Source: New York Post