Globalize the fight against the pandemic

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Indeed, the development of tests, treatments, and vaccines against the sars coronavirus is only half of the equation. The other half, which will probably be the most difficult to resolve, is to manufacture, distribute, and administer enough of these tools that save the lives of all, regardless of where they reside. A text signed by the President of Costa Rica and of the Director-general of WHO.

SAN JOSE – Even if the pandemic Covid-19 has declared that there are less than six months, we have already learned a lot about this disease. Scientists around the world are developing new methods to detect the earliest possible time the new coronavirus. In addition to these lines of research, eight potential vaccines have already reached the stage of clinical trials and more than 100 experimental vaccines are in preclinical development.

All of this constitutes a progress spectacular in which we must rejoice. However, there is reason to fear that many will be left behind. Indeed, the development of tests, treatments and vaccines against the coronavirus is only half of the equation. The other half, which will probably be the most difficult to resolve, is of manufacture, distribute, and administer enough of these tools that save the lives of all, regardless of where they reside.

From the early days of the pandemic, Costa Rica and the world health Organization focused on the creation of a single window. It would bring together the data, knowledge, and intellectual properties related to the screening tests, vaccines, medications, or any other tool to fight against the Covid-19. Since the 29 may, this vision initiative came to fruition with the inauguration of the Group access technologies against the Covid-19; which will ensure that the advances do not leave anyone in the plan.

When these are judiciously conducted, the research freely accessible in the world achieve results much more quickly than isolated initiatives. The clinical trial, “Solidarity”, launched by the WHO in order to find a treatment to the Covid-19 follows the same principle. It already collects data randomized in 17 countries and over one hundred other countries have participated in the testing program or have expressed the wish to take part. The more countries that get involved, the faster we will see results. This is why the WHO also supports the 60 countries in the report, related issues such as regulation, ethics, and procurement of medicines.

A transparent system based on a voluntary sharing of information is not only good for the science. It will also enhance the number of companies involved in the production of technologies that are in demand. Global access will thus be extended and the costs minimised, which will ensure universal access. Equitable access is a key ingredient of the remedy to the Covid-19. The vaccines or treatments, regardless of their effectiveness, will not stop the pandemic, if everybody is immunized. Until all the world be protected, the planet will remain at risk.

This is why we applaud the United Kingdom for its commitment to make vaccines accessible to developing countries at the lowest possible cost, within the framework of its assistance program for 84 million pounds (103 million dollars) for research conducted at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. We also subscribe to the belief of the president of france Emmanuel Macron, according to which each specific treatment or vaccine against the Covid-19 produced in the Northern hemisphere should be accessible immediately in the Southern hemisphere in order to focus on a simultaneous distribution rather than staggered.

As soon as a vaccine against the Covid-19 into production, it should be treated as a global public good. To do this, we call upon all States to ensure that the results of research on the Covid-19 publicly funded are affordable, accessible and distributed to all in the world.

We invite also the pharmaceutical industry as well as research institutions competent to share their knowledge, data and findings through the new group access. Thus, small and large businesses may join the collective global effort. Involve more businesses will advance our knowledge and diversify their application. This will increase the likelihood that effective solutions are developed and delivered to a greater number and in more places.

Defeat the Covid-19 will require unprecedented headways in terms of technological innovations and of international collaboration. Fortunately, several countries already meet their efforts to implement a common vision of universal health.

For example, the general Assembly of the united Nations and the world Health Assembly have both adopted resolutions in support of universal access, equitable and immediate to health technologies. The leaders of the health sector private and philanthropic joined 11 heads of State to support the inauguration of the international collaboration of the who, which aims to accelerate the access to the tools to fight against the Covid-19 (ACT), which also focuses on accessibility.

With the opening of the accelerator access to the tools to fight against the Covid-19 (ACT), we support the years of work of the international organization Medicines Patent Pool, which negotiates licences focused on the pharmaceutical products. This initiative has improved access to treatments for HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C around the world.

However, even greater global solidarity is necessary to fight the current crisis. All the innovation agents of the pharmaceutical sector and the technological need to do so that their findings become glimmers of hope for the world and not only for the more affluent and developed countries. Fight the Covid-19 requires an arsenal of global and each tool has proved useful and should be taken into consideration.

Translated from the English by Pierre Castegnier

© Project Syndicate 1995-2020

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