Only COVID-19 vaccine can bring back ‘normalcy’- UN Chief

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday said a COVID-19 vaccine might be the only solution to bring back “normalcy.”

“A safe and effective vaccine may be the only tool that can return the world to a sense of ‘normalcy,’ saving millions of lives and countless trillions of dollars,” he added during a video conference with the 50 or so African countries that are members of the United Nations.

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He also said the COVID-19 vaccine should be accessible to all, must have a “universal global benefit,” and “allow us to control the pandemic.”

“We need an ambitious effort to ensure that international stakeholders operate through a harmonized, integrated and leveraged approach to maximize the speed and scale needed for the universal deployment of such a vaccine by the end of 2020,” Guterres insisted.

He also said 20% of the $2 billion funds they were raising for the comprehensive UN humanitarian response to the coronavirus crisis had been collected.

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The United Nations was able to give COVID-19 test kits to 46 African countries through the World Health Organization.

UN chief Guterres also lauded the efforts of several African governments to control the spread of the virus in their countries.

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Duterte volunteers Philippines in clinical trials of potential Japan-made COVID-19 vaccine

President Rodrigo Duterte told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the Philippines would join in clinical trials of a Japan-made drug, Avigan, COVID-19 treatment during the Special ASEAN Summit.

“Kung naalala nyo po nung Lunes nabanggit ni Pangulong Duterte ang Avigan, isang gamot na ginagamit para sa flu; isa ito sa mga pinag-usapan sa ASEAN Three Plus One Summit,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

(If you remember, President Duterte on Monday mentioned Avigan, one medicine used to treat the flu; this is one of the things they talked about at the ASEAN Three Plus One Summit.)

“The president had an exchange with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe regarding this drug, and during the meeting [Duterte] reiterated that the Philippines is ready to participate in clinical trials of potential vaccines like Avigan.”

Fujifilm said it would “continue to work to establish a treatment method for COVID-19 patients through conducting clinical trials and to contribute to ending the spread of this global pandemic as soon as possible by increasing the production of Avigan in collaboration with strategic partners.”

“According to Prime Minister Abe, there are 50 countries that are interested in studying this drug further,” Nograles added.

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