[Ip-health] Guardian: World leaders pledge €7.4bn to research Covid-19 vaccine

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue May 5 01:11:34 PDT 2020


<SNIP>


EU officials said pharmaceutical companies who will receive the funding
will not be requested to forgo their intellectual property rights on the
new vaccine and treatments, but they should commit to make them available
worldwide at affordable prices. A similar process has occurred through
Gavi, the global vaccine fund, which gives a global alliance leverage over
the distribution and price of a vaccine.

--


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/04/world-leaders-pledge-74bn-euros-to-research-covid-19-vaccine

World leaders pledge €7.4bn to research Covid-19 vaccine

EU-hosted talks tout cooperation but is not addressed by India, Russia or US

Coronavirus – latest updates
See all our coronavirus coverage

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

Mon 4 May 2020 19.24 BST

First published on Mon 4 May 2020 19.00 BST


World leaders, with the notable exception of Donald Trump, stumped up
nearly €7.4bn (£6.5bn) to research Covid-19 vaccines and therapies at a
virtual event convened by the EU, pledging the money will also be used to
distribute any vaccine to poor countries on time and equitably.

But in a sign of the fractured state of global health diplomacy, the event
was not addressed by India, Russia or the US. After a weekend of
persuasion, China was represented by its ambassador to the EU.

A separate Covid-19 summit was staged earlier in the day and addressed by
the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and other world leaders including
the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.

The EU-convened virtual summit was addressed in person by the leaders of
France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Japan, Jordan, Norway, Israel, South
Africa and the EU, and took the form of a pledging marathon.

But the US state department released a statement welcoming what it
described as “the pledging conference in Europe”, even though the
fundraising summit had always been envisaged as a global, rather than
strictly European effort.

The US also highlighted its “vaccine partnership to prioritise drug
candidates and streamline clinical trials”. Trump has suggested a vaccine
will be ready by the end of the year but many scientists are sceptical that
even with global cooperation such a timetable can be met.

The money is largely designed to speed up the process by raising guaranteed
funds to coordinate research and incentivise pharmaceutical companies to
distribute any vaccines and therapies to poorer countries, something that
did not happen in the 2009 swine flu outbreak.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said any distributed vaccine “won’t
belong to anybody”.

“Those who invent it of course will be fairly paid, but access will be
given to people across the globe by the organisation we chose,” he said.

EU officials said pharmaceutical companies who will receive the funding
will not be requested to forgo their intellectual property rights on the
new vaccine and treatments, but they should commit to make them available
worldwide at affordable prices. A similar process has occurred through
Gavi, the global vaccine fund, which gives a global alliance leverage over
the distribution and price of a vaccine.

Boris Johnson was introduced to the summit by Ursula von der Leyen, the
president of the European commission, as “a man who has been though every
possible emotion in the past month”. The UK prime minister insisted the
search for a vaccine was not a competition between countries, but instead
required cooperation that “defies the usual ways of operating”.

He said: “We’ll need a truly global effort – because no one country, and no
one pharmaceutical company, will be able to do this alone. The race to
discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between
countries, but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes. It’s
humanity against the virus.”

Many leaders used their brief speeches to assert their support for the
existing multilateral architecture for global health, including the World
Health Organization. The US last month suspended funding for the WHO,
criticising its relationship with China.

Erna Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister and summit co-host, said “we
support the leadership of the World Health Organization”, adding that
without the UN body “an effective and coordinated response to the pandemic
would not be possible”.

She said that “multilateral cooperation is more important than ever” and
the meeting was the start of a global movement “never seen before”.

At the parallel “non-aligned movement” summit, Rouhani attacked the US
decision to pull out of the WHO, describing it as “a strategic blunder”.

The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom, in his address to the EU-convened
event , pointed out how quickly the genetic sequence of the virus had been
shared by China amongst scientists globally.

The EU said near the close of the summit that a total of 7.36bn of the
€7.5bn sought had been pledged, with the largest national pledges coming
from Japan and Norway. France, Italy and Germany all pledged around €500m
each. Turkey’s contribution will be announced later in the month.

The precise value of individual countries pledges announced during the
two-hour event was hard to calculate since some leaders drew on previous
pledges, or earmarked their national contribution for specific bodies like
the Red Cross, the WHO or Gavi. Von der Leyen said the summit had revealed
“fantastic momentum” and that it was possible to turn the tide against the
virus.

>From the €7.5bn initially sought, €4bn is for the development of a vaccine,
€2bn for treatments and €1.5bn for the manufacture of tests, according to
the European commission.

The precise methodology of the new fund, including how to select a vaccine
for funding and the strings to be attached, was not made clear during the
many rhetorical speeches. But the world leaders want to work with existing
global health bodies such as Gavi as much as possible.

The driving idea behind the summit, pushed by the Gates Foundation, is that
an alliance is needed not just to coordinate research for a vaccine, but
also for therapies and testing.

Jeremy Farrar, the Wellcome Trust director, said: “I would have loved China
and the US to be part of the fundraising summit … both countries had
incredibly deep medical knowledge innovation and expertise and a strong
manufacturing base.”

He added: “My guess is that those countries that have not yet signed up
will sign up in the course of May to make sure this is a truly global
event. We need everyone.”

David Salisbury from the thinktank Chatham House noted, however: “We have
to admit there is a tension between countries that want to protect their
populations and the desire to spread the vaccine equitably. It will not be
a vote winner to offer a share in available vaccine to less-privileged
countries.

“The factories for the biggest vaccine manufacturers are in Europe, the US
and India. Will European manufacturers be obliged by the EU to restrict
sales first to European countries?”


-- 
Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org


More information about the Ip-health mailing list