A report released last week from a panel led by Prof. Chris Dye and Prof. Melinda Mills from the University of Oxford, states that while coronavirus vaccine passports are a feasible idea, there are a few challenges that need to be addressed before they could be developed. The report was published at the Royal Society.
The report, which also gave a summary of these issues, stated that the primary concern was that any passport should disclose if its holder was protected from the coronavirus and would not be able to transmit the disease. Apart from this, passports would also be required to show international acceptance, the effectiveness of the vaccine and whether it was effective against any emerging or new variants of the virus. In addition, the coronavirus passports would also need to be ethical, legal and secure.
Mills, who is the director of the Leverhulme Center for Demographic Science and one of the lead authors of the report, stated that understanding what a vaccine passport could be utilized for and whether it would permit international travel, among many other uses, was of central importance. She noted that the planned uses of the vaccine passport would have significant repercussions across an extensive range of ethical and legal issues, which needed to be explored fully, as they could unintentionally aggravate or intensify already existing inequalities.
Dye, who is the report’s other lead author and a professor of epidemiology in the Department of Zoology at Oxford, explained that an efficacious vaccine passport system that would permit the return to activities conducted before the pandemic, such as travel that didn’t compromise public or personal health, was achievable. However, he added that there was a set of criteria that needed to be met for the system to work.
Prof. Mills noted that following the World Health Organization’s lead, international standardization was among the criteria the panel believed to be of utmost importance. She observed that an extensive discussion on various aspects of a vaccine passport, ranging from data privacy to technical challenges, the science of immunity and the legality and ethics of how the passport may be used, would also be needed.
Dye also mentioned that while significant progress had been made in many of these areas, there was still a lot that had not been done.
The following are some of the criteria of a vaccine passport that the panel came up with:
- Meet ethical and legal standards
- Be secure for personal data and portable
- Be internationally standardized
- Meet benchmarks for coronavirus immunity
It remains to be seen what form and function vaccine passports implemented by different governments will take.
In addition to vaccine passports, major developments are taking place within the biotech space. For instance, RYAH Group Inc. brought to market a smart patch drug delivery system that allows clinicians and other medical professionals to remotely control the timing and dosage of site-specific medications.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to RYAH Group Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/RYAH
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