COVID vaccine nationalism will fuel price rigging

WHO calls for collective efforts, financing global efforts

IMF estimates the pandemic costs the global economy $375 billion US dollars a month. COVID vaccine research needs just $100 billion, says WHO


GENEVA, Aug 14, 2020 (BNC Network): Denouncing the attempts by certain countries for indulging in Vaccine Nationalism, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has ignored the Russian discovery of a COVID vaccine and called for financing the global research.

“When a successful new vaccine is found there will be greater demand than there is supply. Excess demand and competition for supply is already creating vaccine nationalism and risk of price gouging,” WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said addressing the global media.

“We live in a globalised economy and countries are dependent on each other for goods and services, transportation and supply. If we don't get rid of the virus everywhere, we can't rebuild economies anywhere,” Dr Tedros agued.

He said nine vaccine candidates are already in the COVAX portfolio and going through Phase 2 or 3 trials which is the broadest in the world and is constantly expanding. Countries that represent nearly 70% of the global population have signed up or expressed an interest to be part of the new initiative, he said.

On therapeutics, Dr Tedros pointed out, the first proven therapy for severe COVID-19, Dexamethasone, was announced in June with support from the therapeutic accelerator arm and is currently in scale-up.

On diagnostics, more than 50 tests are currently in evaluation, and new evidence has been generated around rapid antigen detection tests that could be game-changing.

The Act-Accelerator is the only global framework for ensuring the fair and equitable allocation of COVID-19 tools. But it must be financed to be successful, he said.

IMF estimates the pandemic costs the global economy $375 billion US dollars a month and predicts a cumulative loss to the global economy over two years of over $12 trillion US dollars.

The world has already spent trillions dealing with the short-term consequences of the pandemic. G20 countries alone have mobilized more than $10 trillion US dollars in fiscal stimulus to treat and mitigate the consequences of the pandemic. That is already more than three and a half times as much as the world spent in the entire response to the global financial crisis.

It’s easy to think of the ACT-Accelerator as a research and development effort; but in reality it’s the best economic stimulus the world can invest.

Funding the ACT-Accelerator will cost a tiny fraction in comparison to the alternative where economies retract further and require continued fiscal stimulus packages.

“Before spending another $10 trillion US dollars on the consequences of the next wave, we estimate that the world will need to spend at least $100 billion US dollars on new tools, especially any new vaccines that are developed,” Dr Tedros said. The first and most immediate need is $31.3 billion US dollars, for the ACT-Accelerator.

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