Thirty countries led by Costa Rica and the World Health Organization launched an initiative on Friday aimed at sharing vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tools to tackle the global coronavirus pandemic.
While the developing nations’ push, called the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, was welcomed by groups including Doctors Without Borders, a drug industry alliance questioned if it would really boost collaboration or broaden access to COVID-19 medicines.
The WHO effort comes amid concerns rich countries pumping resources into finding vaccines – more than 100 are in development – will muscle their way to the front of the queue, once a candidate succeeds.
Community Interviews with Moose FM
Switzerland, home of big drugmakers Roche and Novartis, has also raised fears of “vaccine nationalism,” saying it wants to ensure fair access.
“Vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments and other key tools in the coronavirus response must be made universally available as global public goods,” Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado said, of the voluntary initiative.
Story continues below advertisement
0:59Coronavirus outbreak: WHO announces creation of foundation to source more funding
Coronavirus outbreak: WHO announces creation of foundation to source more funding