Globally, 462,684 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 20,834 deaths have been recorded so far, the WHO said in its daily situation report.
The report cited data from national governments as of 10 am Central European Time (CET) on March 26.
Since the organisation's previous update, three new countries/territories/areas have reported their first cases of the novel coronavirus.
Out of these, two were in the African Region and one in the Region of the Americas.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"The United Nations launched a $2 billion COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan to support the world’s most vulnerable countries," the WHO added.
In India, the number of confirmed cases is approaching 700, with 16 deaths reported so far, according to the health ministry's latest figures.
India is in a nationwide lockdown till April 14, an effort to contain the spread of the virus."We call on all countries who have introduced so-called “lockdown” measures to use this time to attack the virus," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on March 25.