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WHO with 37 countries appeal for common ownership of vaccines for Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on May 30, 2020 Published on May 30, 2020

World Health Organization along with 37 countries appealed for common possession of vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic tools to prevent the global pandemic. The idea comes as many countries fear that patent rights would barrage them from accessing necessary supplies, Reuters reported.

The appeal was made mostly by developing nations under the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool. The proposal was praised by Doctors Without Borders.

Developing nations are apprehensive of rich countries trying to lay claims over upcoming vaccines and medicines as they are pumping resources in the development of more than 100 vaccines.

"Vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments, and other key tools in the coronavirus response must be made universally available as global public goods," said Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado.

The effort, originally proposed in March, aims to provide a one-stop-shop for scientific knowledge, data, and intellectual property to tackle the pandemic that has infected more than 5.8 million people and killed more than 360,000.

The WHO issued a "Solidarity Call to Action", asking other stakeholders to join the voluntary push.

"WHO recognizes the important role that patents play in fuelling innovation but this is a time when people must take priority," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online news briefing.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations raised concerns about undermining intellectual property protections, which the group said already enable collaboration and will also be needed after the pandemic is over.

"The 'Solidarity Call to Action' promotes a one-size-fits-all model that disregards the specific circumstances of each situation, each product, and each country," the federation said as cited in the Reuters report.

Published on May 30, 2020
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