Obama: Trump failed to take pandemic, presidency seriously    'Bond - James Bond': Scottish movie legend Sean Connery dies aged 90    Live score: Talae El-Gaish v Ahly (Egyptian Premier League)    PSG's Neymar out until at least mid-November: Coach Tuchel    Australia's Melbourne enjoys first weekend out of lockdown as COVID-19 cases dwindle    Ivory Coast votes for president in test of post-war stability    Mourinho says Tottenham fans cannot expect same Bale from seven years ago    Egypt reports 176 new coronavirus cases, 11 deaths on Friday    Death toll reaches 26 in quake that hit Turkey, Greek island    All winners of 4th El Gouna Film Festival    Emerging Markets-EMEA FX falls; Turkish lira set for worst month since 2018 crisis    Restrictions needed to battle COVID-19 in Europe, EU says    Thwart US veto or await new president? WTO has leadership dilemma    Egypt extends deadline for reconciliation requests in building violations to 30 November    El Gouna Film Festival sheds light on digital media in the wake of COVID-19    Parliament's ‘driving force'    The Senate and the return of party politics    GERD: In quest of meaningful negotiations    Egyptian insurance companies' premiums 9.6% up in five months    Egypt's President Sisi names new head of anti-corruption watchdog    Egypt's c.bank offers 18 bln pounds T-bills on Sunday    EgyptAir offering discounts for some international flights    Egypt records 212 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths on Saturday    Egypt to require PCR coronavirus tests for airport travelers    Egypt sends 125 tonnes of glass by sea to Beirut    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    Global smartphone sales drop 20% in Q2, yet Apple's iPhone sales steady    Sisi: Egypt keen on establishing development projects with Iraq, Jordan    Egyptian megastar Amr Diab releases new hit music video    Making of Harry Potter will be available for fans at new park in Tokyo    Egypt's Senate elections official results to be announced Wednesday    Netflix Egypt is bringing megastar Amr Diab back with a new original    Egypt reopens Rafah border crossing for first time since April    Egypt's senate elections 2020 trending on social media in few days    African Champions League final will be played on Oct. 16-17, CAF says    No room to delay Egyptian Premier League games – EFA's board member    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Race for virus vaccine could leave some countries behind: AP report
Published in Ahram Online on 18 - 06 - 2020

As the race for a vaccine against the new coronavirus intensifies, rich countries are rushing to place advance orders for the inevitably limited supply to guarantee their citizens get immunized first - leaving significant questions about whether developing countries will get any vaccine before the pandemic ends.
Earlier this month, the United Nations, International Red Cross and Red Crescent, and others said it was a ``moral imperative'' that everyone have access to a ``people's vaccine.'' But such grand declarations are unenforceable, and without a detailed strategy, the allocation of vaccines could be extremely messy.
``We have this beautiful picture of everyone getting the vaccine, but there is no road map on how to do it,'' said Yuan Qiong Hu, a senior legal and policy adviser at Medecins Sans Frontieres in Geneva. She said numerous problems must be resolved to manage distribution and that few measures have been taken.
In the past, Hu said, companies have often applied for patents for nearly every step of a vaccine's development and production: from the biological material like cell lines used, to the preservative needed to stretch vaccine doses and even how the shots are administered.
``We can't afford to face these multiple layers of private rights to create a `people's vaccine,''' she said, urging ``very open conditions'' so every manufacturer capable of doing so can produce a vaccine once its proven effective.
Speaking at a vaccine summit earlier this month that addressed the thorny issue of equitable distribution, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo agreed.
``The global spread of COVID-19 has told us in no uncertain terms that disease knows no boundaries and no country can afford to go it alone,`` he said. ``Only a people's vaccine with equality and solidarity at its core can protect all of humanity from the virus. ... A bold international agreement to this end cannot wait.``
Worldwide, about a dozen potential COVID-19 vaccines are in early stages of testing. While some could move into late-stage testing later this year if all goes well, it's unlikely any would be licensed before early next year at the earliest. Still, numerous rich countries have already ordered some of these experimental shots and expect delivery even before they are granted marketing approval.
Britain and the U.S. have sunk millions of dollars into various vaccine candidates, including one being developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. In return, both countries are expected to get priority treatment; the British government declared that if the vaccine proves effective, the first 30 million doses would be earmarked for Britons.
Separately AstraZeneca signed an agreement to make at least 300 million doses available for the U.S., with the first batches delivered as early as October. In a briefing Tuesday, senior Trump administration officials said there will be a tiered system to determine who in America is offered the first vaccine doses. Tiers likely would include groups most at risk of severe disease and workers performing essential services.
Last week, the European Union moved to ensure its own supply. On Saturday, AstraZeneca struck a deal with a vaccines group forged by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands to secure 400 million doses by the end of the year.
Among several global efforts underway to try to ensure developing countries don't get left behind is an ``advance market commitment'' from the vaccines alliance GAVI that aims to persuade manufacturers to make enough for both rich and poor countries.
That can ``prevent countries from scrambling to try to invest,'' said Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, which used the approach to secure Ebola and pneumonia vaccines for a global market.
``Because if you're investing in one or two vaccines, of course the ... probability of those vaccines working is quite low. And so yes, you may hit the jackpot and have a vaccine that works. But you also may end up with no vaccine and be left behind.''
Two global vaccine groups have inked a $750 million deal with AstraZeneca to supply 400 million doses by the end of 2020. The Anglo-Swedish pharma giant has also agreed to license its vaccine to India's Serum Institute for the production of 1 billion doses.
Johnson & Johnson's chief scientific officer, Dr. Paul Stoffels, said the company plans to make its coronavirus shot for poor countries at a not-for-profit price, because of the complexity of the technology and expertise needed. Likewise, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot has pledged to make the vaccine available at no profit during the pandemic.
The World Health Organization and others have called for a COVID-19 ``patents pool,'' where intellectual property rights would be surrendered so pharmaceuticals could freely share data and technical knowledge. Numerous countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada and Germany have already begun revising their licensing laws to allow them to suspend intellectual property rights if authorities decide there is an overwhelming need given the pandemic.
But the response from the industry has been lukewarm.
Executives at Pfizer and some other major drug makers say they oppose suspending patent rights for potential COVID-19 vaccines.
Although vaccine stockpiles exist for diseases like yellow fever, cholera and meningitis, these are required only for a few developing countries during acute outbreaks. There is no precedent for divvying up vaccines that would arguably be needed by every country on the planet.
``We can't just rely on goodwill to ensure access,'' said Arzoo Ahmed, of Britain's Nuffield Council on Bioethics, noting that precedents of how innovative drugs have been distributed are not encouraging. ``With HIV/AIDS, it took 10 years for the drugs to reach people in lower-income countries. If that happens with COVID-19, that would be very worrying.''
Other experts pointed out that there are billions of dollars devoted to every stage of vaccine development, but little oversight over how the funds are spent and few guarantees the shots will get to those who need them most.
Suerie Moon, co-director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute Geneva, said it's unclear how any vaccines meant for developing countries will actually be distributed. ``We don't know what the process will look like or how transparent it will be,'' she said.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO's chief scientist, said the U.N. health agency is currently working on developing an ``allocation framework'' for how coronavirus vaccines should be given out. But this guidance would not be binding.
``We don't want to be in a situation where there are doses of a vaccine but they're just available to some countries,'' she said. ``We need to have a consensus on that so we can agree to share the vaccine in a way that protects the most vulnerable.''

Clic here to read the story from its source.