WHO laucnhes alliance to share COVID-19 tools

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 29, 2020 - Duration: 00:52s

WHO laucnhes alliance to share COVID-19 tools

Thirty-seven countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) appealed on Friday for common ownership of vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tools to tackle the global coronavirus pandemic, taking aim at patent laws they fear could become a barrier to sharing crucial supplies.

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WHO laucnhes alliance to share COVID-19 tools

While the push by mostly developing nations, called the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, won praise from groups including Doctors Without Borders, a drug industry alliance questioned if the effort to pool intellectual property would really broaden access to medicines.

Developing and some small nations fear 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.

The effort, originally proposed in March, aims to provide a one-stop shop for scientific knowledge, data and intellectual property amid a 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 fueling innovation but this is a time when people must take priority," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online news briefing.

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WHO launches alliance to share COVID-19 tools 00:52
Video credit: Reuters Studio - Published on May 29, 2020