More COVID vaccines are currently being tested and are expected to be available for recipients to take soon, according to a top scientist from the World Health Organization.

Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, told Bloomberg that six-to-eight new immunizations may complete their clinical trial and receive regulatory review by the end of 2021.

Swaminathan said these new COVID vaccine alternatives may not include a needle and could be stored at room temperatures rather than the deep freeze temperatures that are required for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which has presented challenges for delivery and distribution of the shot.

The Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at a temperature of negative 4 degrees Fahrenheit for up to six months or 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 days, while the Pfizer shot needs a temperature of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit or 35 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to five days. The Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures.

The new COVID vaccines options, which could include more single-shot doses or orally-administered drugs such as nasal sprays or skin patches that could be ready for use later this year or next year, and would be targeted toward certain populations such as pregnant women, Swaminathan told Bloomberg.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses spaced weeks apart for up to 95% effectiveness, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a one-dose shot for up to 66% efficacy.

Currently, there are 10 COVID vaccines that have been shown to combat COVID-19, but Swaminathan told Bloomberg more drugs are needed to fight the virus’ new variants and to meet the demand for the shot.

“We’re thrilled with the vaccines that we have,” she told the news outlet. But “we can improve further. I think, well into 2022, we’re going to see the emergence of improved vaccines.”

As many as 80 different vaccine candidates are currently being studied, with some still in early-stage testing and others by companies with authorized COVID vaccines testing variant versions.

Moderna said on Monday that the first participants of a Phase 1 study of the next generation of its COVID vaccine candidate have been dosed as it looks to develop a refrigerator stage shot.

Swaminathan continued: “We need to continue to support the research and development of more vaccine candidates, especially as the need for ongoing booster immunization of populations is still not very clear at this point. So we need to be prepared for that in the future.”

According to Bloomberg, only 122 countries have started to vaccinate people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Monday over 37.4 million people were fully vaccinated in the U.S.

Leaders in Europe have been warming to the idea of deploying the Russian-developed vaccine
Leaders in Europe have been warming to the idea of deploying the Russian-developed vaccine AFP / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV