WORLD Bank officials have approved a sum of $12bn to help developing countries like Nigeria and other African nations purchase Covid-19 vaccines when they become available most likely by the end of this year.
As soon as the pandemic struck in early 2020, scientists in several countries stepped up work to produce a vaccine for the virus and many are close to coming up with a drug. In Russia, Germany, France, China, India, the UK and US, several drugs are going through a final phase of testing and it is expected that approval will be granted by the end of 2020.
Russia in particular is confident that its Sputnik vaccine will soon scale through all the necessary clinical trials and be granted regulatory approval. Aware of the fact that many developing nations will not be able to afford any drug when it becomes available, the World Bank has set aside funds to come to their aid.
A World Bank spokesman said: “The World Bank’s board of executive directors today approved an envelope of $12bn for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments for their citizens.”
He added that the vaccination support targets up to one billion people and the World Bank is hoping to provide up to $160bn under the scheme through June 2021. Under plans being drawn up, this aid will reach more than 100 countries.
Worldwide, confirmed cases of coronavirus have exceeded 38.4m people, with the number of death expected to hit 1.1m this weekend. Early this year, the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the Wuhan district of China, with the first casualty officially announced dead on January 11, 2020.