World Health Organization downplays vaccine optimism: anticipates coronavirus vaccine won't be available to most until 2022 - World Health Organization (WHO) scientific director Soumya Swaminathan does not expect COVID-19 vaccines to be available to the bulk of the world's population by 2022, although the first risk groups could be immunized by mid-2021.

Dese the organization is managed as a more optimistic scenario the first wave of vaccines in the middle of next year. At that time, the few doses available will be prioritized to the most at-risk groups, such as the elderly and people with respiratory problems, and injections will be postponed to the rest of society.

"Many think that early next year will come a panacea that will solve everything, but it will not be so: there is a long process of evaluation, licensing, manufacturing and distribution," stressed the expert india, and urged not to have hope that a miracle solution in the form of injection will arrive overnight to end the pandemic.

In the selection of priority groups to receive the vaccine, Swaminathan insists that "health care should be the first, and as more doses reach the oldest and people with other diseases, to cover more and more population, a process that will take a couple of years".

"This is the first time in history that we need billions of doses of a vaccine," said the WHO chief scientist, who in comparison explained that, at most, massive annual vaccination campaigns against other diseases need hundreds of millions of doses.

Until then, Swaminathan remarked, "People must be disciplined," hinting that current preventive measures (physical distancing, masks, hand hygiene) should continue...) or the like.

The scientist has also explained the operation of COVAX, the program with which WHO and other international organizations help financially to research vaccines against COVID - 19 in exchange for ensuring its distribution worldwide, not only in the richest nations. Thus, nearly a hundred developing countries could benefit from this programme.

World Health Organization downplays vaccine optimism

To this end, COVAX is in negotiations with leading firms and institutions that research coronavirus vaccines around the world to purchase large amounts of doses when they have proven their effectiveness and safety. That is, when Phase 3 of their investigations are completed.

"Some manufacturers have proposed cost prices, while others suggest that they be lower or higher depending on whether a country is more or less wealthy," said the expert on COVAX's negotiations with the pharmaceutical companies.

On the approximate price of doses, Swaminathan has indicated that currently it seems that it could range between 2 and 30 US dollars, although the market "is very dynamic and will change as more vaccines become available." However, most countries with universal health, such as Spain, will vaccinate at no direct cost to the taxpayer.

COVAX is part of the WHO Accelerator ACT program, which not only covers vaccines but also diagnostic tools and therapies for COVID-19 patients.

After 4 months since the launch of these initiatives, "tremendous progress" has been achieved, said Swaminathan, who said that the speed with which vaccines and drugs are investigated will not be detrimental to patient safety.

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Aena, Iberia and Renfe strengthen their commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship in full crisis of the transports with the objective of accelerating the future of the mobility

The coronavirus pandemic and its obvious restrictions are forcing many organizations to digitize their services and, during their stoppages, invest in innovation and entrepreneurship for the future. At this point are many of the major companies dedicated to mobility, with a strong crisis fuelled by the decline of Tourism and the fear of transport, especially the public, and the threat of pollution still present.

Although the pandemic has had a devastating effect on the industry —from public transport to micro— mobility startups-sustainable transport, intermodality and digitalisation were already among the trends to transform the sector. Under this umbrella, startup OLÉ, the international event for startups and technology entrepreneurship, has organized a round table with top-level agents in the field of mobility to delve into how to use and accelerate the startup ecosystem can be beneficial for large operators, from rail to airlines.

In the framework of the startup Olé Salamanca 2020 Digital Edition, which embarks on more than 250 startups from 23 countries and 400 exceptional speakers, one of the debates this Wednesday focused precisely on innovation and entrepreneurship that make sustainable the mobility sector in an era as turbulent as today.

The industry faces a pressing challenge: to recover pre-pandemic passenger numbers and balance it with sustainability, an increasingly powerful voice in regulating its activity, especially from European bodies. Thus, the table mediated by Carlos Gallego, Managing director and partner responsible for Industry X. 0 of Accenture, has discussed the litigation during which could be the most critical moment for the sector in recent years.

One of the first issues to come to light in this regard is the radical change of all strategic plans of companies in the wake of the crisis of COVID-19. The paradigm shift, in the words of Manel Villalante, director of development and Strategy at Renfe, involves looking for methods of innovation for companies, "customizing the experience" of customers and recovering the trust of users in order to get tickets back and use long-distance transport.

"There are no chains of contagion that are made in means of transport; it is not a vehicle of transmission of the virus," says the expert. In this context, Villalante asserts that Renfe's intention is, in the future, to move from being a reference operator at national level to an international one, in addition to varying from rail transport to multimodal.

To do this, the entity's strategic plan has focused on Tren Lab, its own Global Startup Acceleration Program. The ecosystem, which functions as an open innovation hub in the mobility, transport and logistics sector, is spearheading the digital transformation in the company to adapt it to new competition and the liberalization of the passenger market.

"Platform economies have led to new businesses and new demands for mobility services, rather than modes of transport [...] then we went from competing with Iberia, which we continue to compete, to compete also with Scooter, shared cars, Metropolitan transports, etc", summed Villalante. Their startups allow them, or that's the idea, to approach the services of each of these companies and unite them all in the railway operator.

In the same playing field Aena is played by Amparo Brea, director of innovation, sustainability and customer experience in the public company. The airport sector is perhaps the hardest hit, but also one of those that has been betting on this digital innovation for the longest time.

The Last of Aena's measures, recalls Brea, is the acceleration program Aena Ventures, an innovation engine of the company launched in mid-July to promote 5 startups in airport and commercial management projects. The goal is clear: minimize the environmental footprint, open new businesses and digitally transform the entity.

According to the expert, the main objective of the manager is to modify and optimize the passenger experience, in line with what Villante commented above. With the number of new companies that fulfill basic and specific services in the same area of competence, the idea of Aena is to combine all these works by means of its own accelerator: speeding up the fluid entrances and exits of passengers, improving two-way communication and convincing that airports can also be sustainable and safe spaces.

Something similar comments Gabriel Perdiguero, Chief transformation officer (CTO) of Iberia, also present at the table. The airline is going through a turbulent time, from the drastic drop in prices to the farewell of its last president just a few hours ago, but the expert is confident: "although we are going through a difficult time, we will get it through and go back to where we should be," he says.

To do this, one of its main bets, in line with Aena's plan, is its connected operations program. The plan, based on two main axes —one technology and collaboration— focuses on monitoring and unite the different start-ups with specific services to jointly improve the user experience in the airline and return confidence to the industry.

"We direct and recruit these startups to improve the customer experience," says Perdiguero

For example, one is dedicated to collecting the bags and transporting them so that the traveler forgets about them, while another, using the same data, is dedicated to guide the user in the procedures to get to his flight. Basically: connected startups working on the same Iberia customer base, which monitors operations.

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