Experts say strong evidence of efficacy needed to avoid approval of inferior vaccines.

The rush to immunise populations against Covid-19 could lead to the rollout of a vaccine that is not very effective and risk worsening the pandemic, leading scientists have said.

Politicians and commercial companies are competing to be the first to license a vaccine, but experts say the world would be better served by waiting until comprehensive results showed at least 30-50% effectiveness.

Ministers announced on Friday that the UK would take emergency powers to push any vaccine through the regulatory processes with unprecedented speed before the end of the year. Donald Trump wants to be able to announce the US has a vaccine before tthe presidential election on 3 November.

A vaccine is vital to stopping the pandemic, but Prof Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University and an adviser to the World Health Organization, said the first vaccine would be bought and used all over the world even if it had low efficacy.

Even if it protected only a minority of the population, it would be regarded as the standard by which later vaccines would be measured. That could even lead to inferior vaccines being approved, because they would not have to show that they were any better.

Image Credit:   Reuters

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