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Initiative aims to put virus weapons in hands of all

By Chen Weihua in Brussels | China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-01 10:09

Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen on April 10, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

More than 30 countries and multiple international partners and institutions have signed up to support the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, or C-TAP, a new initiative aimed at making vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to fight COVID-19 accessible to all.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, who first proposed the initiative in March, said that C-TAP would ensure the benefits of science to all of humanity.

"Vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments and other key tools in the coronavirus response must be made universally available as global public goods," he said at a virtual launch ceremony on Friday.

Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, said that access to new data and health products to treat and prevent COVID-19 patients must not create winners and losers.

"And small states who are often casualties of market conditions can't be dispensable in the wake of this disease."

More than 6 million cases and over 369,000 deaths from COVID-19 had been reported by Sunday, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said global solidarity and collaboration are essential to fighting COVID-19.

"Based on strong science and open collaboration, this information-sharing platform will help provide equitable access to life-saving technologies around the world."

The C-TAP will be voluntary and based on social solidarity. It will provide a one-stop shop for scientific knowledge, data and intellectual property to be shared equitably by the global community, the WHO said.

The aim is to accelerate the discovery of vaccines, medicines and other technologies through open-science research, and to speed up product development by mobilizing additional manufacturing capacity. This will help ensure faster and more equitable access to existing and new COVID-19 health products.

Tedros said the initiative's priorities include: public disclosure of gene sequencing, research and all clinical trial results; encouraging governments and research funders to include clauses in contracts with pharmaceutical companies about equitable distribution and publication of trial data; licensing treatments and vaccines to large and small producers; and promoting open innovation models and technology transfer.

C-TAP will be a sister initiative to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and other initiatives launched earlier in collaboration with WHO to support efforts to fight COVID-19.

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