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WHO D-G charges pharmaceutical coys to end COVID-19

The Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus says quick global manufacturing of vaccines, tests, treatments and equitable access are the fastest ways to end the coronavirus.

Ghebreyesus, in a speech on WHO’s website, pushed for more developers to support the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), the voluntary platform for sharing scientific knowledge, data and intellectual property.

During a media briefing at the ongoing World Health Assembly, Ghebreyesus said the assembly was “holding the door open for pharmaceutical companies that have become household names.

“Although too few households have benefited from the life-saving tools they have developed.

“They control the IP that can save lives today, end this pandemic soon and prevent future epidemics from spiralling out of control and undermining health, economies and national security’’.

The World Health Assembly (WHA), WHO’s highest decision-making body, began on May 24 and is expected to end on June 1.

It is being attended by delegations from all over the world.

Ghebreyesus said C-TAP was established a year ago by the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada and more than 40 Heads of State, together with WHO.

Quesada, who also addressed journalists, underlined the need to protect everyone, everywhere.

“It is not acceptable that more than 50 per cent of the globally available vaccines were used in only five countries that account for 50 per cent of global GDP.

“Shamefully, low-income countries have received only 0.3 per cent of the world’s doses,’’ Quesada said.

WHO director-general explained that contributing to C-TAP would allow qualified producers across the world to manufacture products against COVID-19.

According to him, with over 3.5 million recorded deaths from COVID-19, an estimated loss to the global economy of $22 trillion and new variants compounding explosive outbreaks, this pandemic is far from over.

“At the WHA this week, there has been a broad consensus that ensuring equitable access to vaccines is essential for ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In my opening remarks on Monday, I called on world leaders to support a massive push to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of the population of every country by September and 30 per cent by the end of the year.

“If countries immediately share doses with COVAX and if manufacturers prioritise COVAX, we can reach this target and save a lot of lives,’’ Ghebreyesus said. (NAN)

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Ihesiulo Grace

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