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Brussels/WASHINGTON: Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have adopted a new regulation that will allow vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 to be developed more quickly.
The regulation that allows temporary derogation from certain rules for clinical trials was approved on Friday by 505 votes in favour, 67 against and 109 abstentions, following an urgent debate last week, Xinhua news agency reported.
Last month, the European Commission proposed a vaccine strategy that requests a temporary and strictly COVID-19-related derogation from certain rules for clinical trials of vaccines or treatments that contain or consist of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
As national requirements to assess the environmental risks of clinical trials on medicinal products that contain or consist of GMOs vary considerably across member states, a derogation from these rules is needed to avoid significant delay in developing life-saving vaccines and treatments.
The overall number of global COVID-19 cases has surged to over 12.4 million, while the deaths have increased to more than 559,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
As of Saturday morning, the total number of cases stood at 12,461,962, while the fatalities rose to 559,481, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.
The US accounted for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 3,182,385 and 134,073, respectively, according to the CSSE.
Brazil came in the second place with 1,800,827 infections and 70,398 deaths.
In terms of cases, India ranks third (793,802), and is followed by Russia (712,863), Peru (319,646), Chile (309,274), the UK (289,678), Mexico (289,174), Spain (253,908), Iran (252,720), South Africa (250,687), Pakistan (243,599), Italy (242,639), Saudi Arabia (226,486), Turkey (210,965), France (208,015), Germany (199,332), Bangladesh (178,443), Colombia (133,973), Canada (108,959) and Qatar (102,630), the CSSE figures showed.
The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the UK (44,735), Italy (34,938), Mexico (34,191), France (30,007), Spain (28,403), India (21,604), Iran (12,447), Peru (11,500) and Russia (11,000).
COVID-19 getting worse: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the novel coronavirus was yet to be brought under control “in most of the world”, while warning that it was actually “getting worse”.
Speaking at a briefing on Friday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “The virus has upended health systems in some of the world’s wealthiest nations, while some countries that have mounted a successful response have been of modest means. In most of the world the virus is not under control. It is getting worse.”
The WHO chief added that the pandemic was “still accelerating”, as the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has “doubled in the last six week”, the Metro reported. (Agencies)