The world is already battling to defeat the new Coronavirus which has claimed 233,416 lives globally. Now the World Health Organization's Europe director has warned that countries should get prepared for a "second and third wave" of Coronavirus until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed.

While earlier many experts and researchers warned that US and China would face a second wave of Coronavirus outbreak, Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, who began his term as the Geneva-based agency's Regional Director for Europe on February 1, 2020, said Europe remained "very much in the grip" of the pandemic despite a "plateau or reduction in new cases" since other countries went into lockdown.

New wave of Coronavirus

Coronavirus
Coronavirus Pixabay

While making a statement at WHO Europe briefing, Dr Kluge mentioned that the COVID-19 which has devastated the world economy and forced millions of people to stay behind the doors for months, "is not going away anytime soon." He also said that public health would need to have a more "prominent place in the society."

He mentioned that it was vital for all the countries to prepare for future outbreaks once the first peak had been reached. Dr Kluge stated that if the first wave is gone, it means, "we have enough time to prepare for the second and third wave" especially, when the world doesn't have a vaccine ready.

In addition, he said, "This will require the collaboration and understanding of everyone, not least with the summer coming, that everyone has to do its share while moving to a new reality where public health has to have a more prominent place in society."

Coronavirus lockdown

It should be noted that there are some parts of the European continent which have started to move toward the post-lockdown phase. While some countries allowed to open the schools and shops as the number of cases started to reduce, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson who was hospitalized after developing symptoms for COVID-19, warned that it was still too dangerous to relax a stringent lockdown hammering Britain's economy for fear of a deadly second outbreak.

However, as per Dr Kluge, there were positive signs in Europe which indicate that countries were passing the peak of the new Coronavirus but still they have remained "very much in the grip" of the pandemic.

It should be mentioned that Europe still accounts for almost 46 percent of all COVID-19 cases globally along with 63 percent of total fatalities in the world. When the virus first emerged in China in December 2019 and started to spread in Wuhan, the European countries were not under the lockdown. Later when the EU leaders started to impose stricter measures, after the continent became the epicentre, the virus started changing its focus to the US, which had not at that time introduced restrictions.

Wuhan Coronavirus
Twitter / Imran Iftikhar

Dr Kluge said, "We're now seeing evidence of a plateau or reduction in new cases. We must monitor this development very closely." In addition, he also revealed that "COVID-19 is not going away any time soon."

Earlier US CDC Director Robert Redfield revealed that the second wave would likely hit the country this winter in conjunction with the flu season to make for an even more dire health crisis in the country.

Race to develop Coronavirus vaccine

vaccine
How to develop vaccine for immunity (Infograph) Nature


While there are several vaccines developed by biotech companies and scientists are currently in the trial process, in the UK, the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is currently making plans with the University of Oxford to distribute a vaccine if the human trial shows promising signs.

It should be mentioned that Oxford's Jenner Institute has started the human trials last week and they are expecting that the results would come by the middle of June. Meanwhile, Director-general of China's Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Dr Gao Fu said that China expects to have a successful vaccine candidate for the deadly disease by September 2020.

Nature
Profile of COVID-19 vaccine developers by type and geographic location. Nature