Risk of Covid-19 infection from breastfeeding negligible

Grant Boone
August 5, 2020

As the World Health Organisation director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warns there will likely be no "silver bullet" vaccine and public health measures will continue to be important, Professor Rawlinson says he agrees it is not an "either/or" situation.

In a press briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus discussed the impact of the pandemic on the world and the efforts needed to contain it. He hopes that a number of these candidate vaccines will be effective in preventing infection by the coronavirus. He emphasized the need for a safe and effective vaccine but said despite development on these treatments, "there's no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be".

"When leaders step up and work intensely with their populations, this disease can be brought under control", he said. "Do it all", he urged. He also made clear that an ultimate vaccine may not come, or its protection could only be just a few months. "But until we finish the clinical trials, we will not know", he added.

The novel coronavirus has killed almost 690,000 people and infected at least 18.1 million since the outbreak emerged in Wuhan in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

"The fact that that fire alarm was triggered (in Wuhan) doesn't necessarily mean that that is where the disease crossed from animals to human", he said. It advised WHO to continue to mobilise global and regional multilateral organisations and partners for COVID-19 preparedness and response, to support member states in maintaining health services, while accelerating the research and eventual access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

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Other countries with high infection tolls include India, with more than 1.85 million cases, Russia, with more than 859,000 cases, and South Africa, with a staggering 521,318 confirmed cases.

"The aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes, especially through health professionals that parents trust for nutrition and health advice, is a major barrier to improving newborn and child health worldwide", said Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO's Department of Nutrition and Food Safety.

However, China says a full investigation may have to wait until the pandemic is under control and has rejected accusations that it delayed releasing information to World Health Organization at the start of the outbreak.

The WHO advance team that traveled to China has now concluded its mission to lay the groundwork for further joint efforts to determine the origin of the virus.

The team of WHO experts visited the city of Wuhan, understood to be the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, to probe the origins of the virus and how it spread across the world.

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