Bill Gates says ‘Normalcy only when second generation of Covid-19 vaccine is out’

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has given a gloomy picture for the world looking to get to normal after being hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a television programme, the billionaire said that life will get back to normal only when the second generation of the Covid-19 vaccine becomes available.

Gates’ comments come as the world is racing towards finding a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) which has affected millions across the globe.

AstraZeneca’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine is one of the most advanced candidates in the race against the novel coronavirus.

The British drugmaker has signed several supply and manufacturing deals with companies and governments around the world as it gets closer to reporting early results of a late-stage clinical trial.

Developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca in April, the vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate.

Pfizer has, meanwhile, again modified the protocol for its late-stage study of its vaccine, this time to include more young participants.

The company said on Monday that it’s received permission from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States to include adolescents aged 12 through 15 in its global Covid-19 vaccine study.

New York-based Pfizer originally planned for 30,000 participants, but in September expanded that to 44,000 people. Pfizer’s trial also includes significant numbers of Hispanic, Black, Asian, and Native American participants, plus many people aged 56 through 85.

Last month, in an email interview to Hindustan Times, Gates had spoken about vaccine development and the protection it will provide. “It’s too soon to make predictions about how long protection might last. At this point, we don’t have enough data on the duration of antibody and T-cell response to the disease itself, let alone the various vaccine candidates. Many of the vaccine trials underway should start to report efficacy data in the next few months, which will start to provide answers to these critical questions,” Gates had said.

“The good news is that there is a large portfolio of vaccines in testing, each with a different approach. This gives the greatest possible chance to develop effective vaccines,” he had further said.

On October 6, he had said that rich countries could be back to close to normal by late 2021 if a Covid-19 vaccine works, is ready soon, and distributed properly at scale.

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