The World Health Organization is working to reboot the intellectual divide scheme as the lack of vaccine threatens the attempts of the poorest countries to emerge from the pandemic and as the debate over patents intensifies.
In a letter published Thursday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado Quesada called on member states to work with vaccine makers to encourage IP sharing. and technology transfer through design.
“The single most important thing to the global community is to stop the pandemic on its railways, to stop its rapid spread and reverse the trend of the resulting global hardship,” they wrote. “We know that this goal can only be achieved if everyone, anywhere, has access to the health technologies they need for Covid-19 detection, prevention, treatment and response.”
WHO with Costa Rica last year launched C-Tap (the Covid-19 access technology pool) for Covid vaccines, tests and drugs, but the initiative failed to attract sufficient interest from high -income countries and the pharmaceutical industry.
In a surprise move this month, the U.S. offered generic support for a different vaccine pardon waiver. Although observers say the move, even if it has a meaningful symbol, does little to meet the technical requirements to study it.
For its part, the pharmaceutical industry has resisted any attempt to pass it on to trade secrets, arguing that the patents and monopolies they create are necessary to protect the risky investment necessary to carry the drugs. in the market. Most Covid medications and almost all Covid vaccines in the west have been developed with the help of at least some taxpayer money.
Basically, C-Tap, which is also now supported in Spain, will rely on the voluntary collection of IP and commercial secrets, offering companies compensation through royalties. It will also use a blueprint deployed to create and distribute drugs for HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis, and make the poorest countries least rely on foreign aid and multinational companies.
The WHO estimates that if vaccine makers follow the plan, the world will benefit from more available shots by the end of next year. Today, there is significantly unequal access to vaccines.
As of Monday, the number of doses delivered by the Covax vaccine procurement scheme stood at 70m – enough for at least 0.5 per cent of the combined population of the 124 countries it serves.
In the short term, the C-Tap scheme will encourage the development of the tests and medications needed to prevent the spread of the virus and reduce mortality where they are high.
Tedros has from the start of the pandemic called for greater knowledge sharing, with the goal of balancing inequal health in the long run.
“We’ve been sailing 10 years in the making [HIV] available antiretrovirals in low -and -middle -income countries, which they need most. At that time, millions of people died, “he told the Financial Times.” We can’t afford to replicate the same watershed. It’s not good, but neither is it vision. “
“Those who didn’t contribute to it [global solidarity] the efforts have effectively contributed to prolonging the crisis. ”