The regulators that normally work inside their own nations or regions are going to probably harmonize efforts on potential coronavirus or COVID-19 vaccines for speeding up their approvals once they become available, WHO chief Soumya Swaminathan stated on Friday.

Swaminathan, answering questions on social media platforms, also said testing vaccines for safety and efficacy - usually a years-long process - could be accelerated to just six months in the midst of the pandemic, if data satisfied regulators that they have enough information to issue approvals. Still, she said, safety would be paramount.

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"Whilst speed is important, it cannot be at the cost of compromising on the safety or the efficacy standards that one is setting for oneself," she said. "It's not the case that the first vaccine is going to be rushed through into injecting millions of people without having established the fact whether it's really protecting you and whether it's safe enough for use in large populations."

The deadly novel virus outbreak has created a major stir around thew world in recent times infecting more than 15.5 million people globally and claiming the lives of over 633,000 people worldwide in more than 170 nations.

(With agency inputs)