WHO chief warns against “vaccine nationalism”

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GENEVAThe WHO chief on Tuesday called on countries to share their supplies to fight COVID-19 strategically and globally, warning of “supply nationalism” around vaccine and drug development.

“Although leaders want to protect their own people first, the response to this pandemic must be collective,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a twice-weekly press briefing.

“Sharing scarce supplies strategically and globally is actually in the national interest of every country. No one is safe until everyone is safe, ”Tedros said.

The WHO lists 25 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 139 in preclinical evaluation to fight against the new coronavirus.

Six COVID-19 vaccine candidates have reached phase 3 level, according to the WHO.

Three are from China, one is developed by an Anglo-Swedish company working with the University of Oxford and two by American scientists.

The WHO reacted cautiously to Russia’s announcement to prepare to launch a mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus in October, saying the organization had established guidelines for vaccine production.

“No country has access to research and development, manufacturing and the entire supply chain for all essential drugs and materials,” Tedros said Tuesday.

“And if we can work together, we can make sure that all essential workers are protected and that proven treatments like dexamethasone are available to those who need them. ”

“One of the most difficult challenges”

He said each new disease outbreak presented new challenges, but from a logistical standpoint, COVID-19 has been “one of the most difficult challenges” the WHO has ever faced.

When it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE) at the start of the pandemic, some countries have imposed export restrictions and there have been several cases of requisitioning of essential medical supplies for national use, he said. he declares.

“Sourcing nationalism has exacerbated the pandemic and contributed to the utter failure of the global supply chain,” Tedros said.

This meant that for a while some countries were without essential supplies, such as key items for health workers who were facing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“The lessons learned from distributing these supplies will be important as we seek to ensure that our supply chains and systems are perfected for future ACT-Accelerator breakthroughs,” Tedros said.

ACT-Accelerator is a global collaboration launched by WHO to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

According to the WHO, the governments of Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Africa from the South, Spain and the United Kingdom, and the European Commission have so far committed to the ACT-Accelerator.

China, Russia and the United States are not among them.

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