•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Protecting the profits of a few could prevent vaccine access for all

23:56  14 october  2020
23:56  14 october  2020 Source:   thehill.com

A COVID-19 vaccine by Election Day? Here are the 3 things that would need to happen, and soon.

  A COVID-19 vaccine by Election Day? Here are the 3 things that would need to happen, and soon. Could an approved coronavirus vaccine be released before Election Day on Nov. 3? It's extremely unlikely but not impossible, experts say.President Donald Trump on Monday said, "vaccines are coming momentarily," and he has promised on multiple occasions that one will be ready before the election, now less than a month away.

The race to develop safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 feels existential. But even if all goes according to plans, it's clear that - at least for the foreseeable future - there will be far greater demand for these vaccines than supply. We've already seen the ugly scramble for personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing kits, therapeutics and treatments, which pitted countries against one another, and in the U.S., forced states into competition.

Mike Pence tried to blame Kamala Harris for undermining a Covid-19 vaccine. But the public blames Trump.

  Mike Pence tried to blame Kamala Harris for undermining a Covid-19 vaccine. But the public blames Trump. Pence’s spin on a Covid-19 vaccine ignored the biggest obstacle to public trust: his boss.Moderator Susan Page asked Harris during the debate whether she would take a vaccine if one were to be approved by the Trump administration.

Protecting the profits of a few could prevent vaccine access for all © getty Protecting the profits of a few could prevent vaccine access for all

India and South Africa have put forward a novel proposal to replace our current competition-driven approach with cooperation. At a meeting on Oct. 15, they will be asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily relax its rules to allow for more international collaboration in the manufacture of the vaccines and medicines - even without authorization from the companies that created them. Theirs is an ambitious gambit, but one that deserves support.

Even though no one knows when or if a vaccine candidate will succeed as safe and effective, the U.S. and a few other wealthy governments have already paid to reserve millions of doses. Oxfam estimates that 51 percent of the doses to be produced based on current capacity have already been reserved for countries with just 13 percent of the global population. If the rest of the world depends on the same manufacturing facilities, they will have to wait for them to deliver on their preorders and hope that more doses can be produced before too many more die or become seriously ill.

Polio campaign of the 1950s provides a sound model for what the U.S. needs for COVID-19

  Polio campaign of the 1950s provides a sound model for what the U.S. needs for COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccines are in development but there is widespread distrust. Looking to the polio epidemic and vaccine could teach us how to deal with it.The United States is very likely speeding toward the approval and distribution of a vaccine that a sizable portion of the population will forgo. A new Pew Research Center survey reveals a 21 percentage point drop since May — from 72% to 51% — among adults who would get a COVID-19 vaccine today, with a decline “across all major political and demographic groups.

A dozen pharmaceutical companies have voluntarily pledged to enable "timely availability" and "affordability for lower income countries." Astra Zeneca and Novavax have struck deals with a manufacturer in India to allow millions of doses to be made and sold to India and other lower income countries at a fraction of the cost they expect to charge elsewhere. But these limited pledges fall far short of the open, non-exclusive licensing that could transform the situation.

Without a more open approach to intellectual property, the COVID-19 vaccine, and other products that could help us better respond to the pandemic, will likely remain out of reach for most of the world. As we grapple with the fallout of over 1 million deaths worldwide, hundreds of millions of children still out of school and battered economies, ensuring equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine is not just a public health challenge, it's a fundamental human rights concern.

The race to a COVID-19 vaccine requires a pledge for safety and efficacy

  The race to a COVID-19 vaccine requires a pledge for safety and efficacy COVID-19 is a global problem. Thus vaccine nationalism is inappropriate, and America First could become America Last. Attaining a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine must be a victory for the entire world. As we have witnessed, viruses have no borders. As we rush toward that victory, we must work with global partners and, most importantly, take the necessary time to establish vaccine safety and efficacy.James Alwine is a virologist and a fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

To be sure, vaccination will not be a silver bullet: many of the candidates in the final stages of trials may not provide lasting immunity, and rising vaccine hesitancy might complicate efforts. Social distancing, widespread testing, contact tracing, bolstering weak healthcare systems, and protecting health workers will continue to be critical. Nonetheless, since mass vaccination is the safest path toward protecting people from infection, severe illness and death, it makes sense to try to ensure availability of as many doses as possible, as quickly as possible.

Pharmaceutical companies have typically maintained control over the intellectual property behind their discoveries, determining prices and deciding who can produce their product. The access to medicines movement has for decades argued that these profit-driven practices are unsavory even in normal times, and demanded more transparent pricing. Those objections seem even more salient in these extraordinary times.

Governments have poured billions of dollars of public money - at least US $19 billion as of mid-September according to estimates shared by Policy Cures Research - into efforts to develop vaccines. But this funding has come with few strings attached. Companies will still control the manufacturing decisions governing both availability and affordability of any vaccine. Without decisive action, our fates could be left in these companies' hands.

Experts see progress on a COVID-19 vaccine, but worry about who gets it first and how it gets to them

  Experts see progress on a COVID-19 vaccine, but worry about who gets it first and how it gets to them Public confidence in effectiveness and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines must be established for battle against the pandemic to succeed, says our panel.“Vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations save lives,” said Daniel Salmon, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Some efforts are already being made to help low- and middle-income countries get vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi-the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations are together backing a new vaccine procurement mechanism called the COVAX Facility. It plans to pool resources and negotiate deals of its own with pharmaceutical companies. But COVAX has only raised $700 million of its $2 billion start-up costs, fails to challenge hoarding by its own participants, and doesn't commit to pooling and sharing intellectual property, or to require pricing transparency, and so these vaccines may not be affordable to much of the world.

In Brazil and South Africa, civil society spent years challenging the high costs of medicines, especially those used in the treatment of HIV or AIDS. Eventually, both governments succumbed to public pressure and issued "compulsory licenses" which authorize producers to make patented products without the consent of the patent holder. The companies hit back with lawsuits. Those battles sparked a rethinking of the global approach to the enforcement of intellectual property rules. The WTO adopted rules to allow governments and companies to produce certain products without the permission of the original patent holders.

Kremlin dismisses vaccine disinformation campaign accusations as 'circus'

  Kremlin dismisses vaccine disinformation campaign accusations as 'circus' Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed the reaction of the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to the Times report saying that Russia is engaging in a disinformation campaign to discredit the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine in an effort to promote its own vaccine Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya Institute. "Commenting on the accusations against Russia is getting more and more circus-like," Peskov said in a conference call with reporters Friday. "Russia is not misinforming anyone, Russia proudly talks about its successes and Russia shares its successes regarding the first ever registered [coronavirus] vaccine in the world.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, and Germany have all taken steps that permit compulsory licenses. That option, while effective, is ad hoc. The African Union has called on all countries to remove all obstacles and ensure that all relevant technologies, intellectual property, data, and know-how are openly and immediately made available.

If the WTO's Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights adopts the India-South Africa proposal, it has the opportunity to unlock manufacturing potential across the globe. Manufacturing a vaccine is complex, but that doesn't mean that only a handful of companies should be allowed to control it. At Costa Rica's suggestion, 40 countries have called for a voluntary pool to share COVID-19 technologies including tests, medicines, and vaccines. That's a promising start. Adopting the India-South Africa proposal could help make this practical.

Right now, we are on a runaway train barreling toward a future when the majority of the globe is forced to wait for vaccines as the rich serve themselves first. It's time to pull the emergency brake.

Bruno Stagno-Ugarte is deputy executive director for advocacy at Human Rights Watch. He was previously foreign affairs minister of Costa Rica and president of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court. Follow him on Twitter

The race to develop safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 feels existential. But even if all goes according to plans, it's clear that - at least for the foreseeable future - there will be far greater demand for these vaccines than supply. We've already seen the ugly scramble for personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing kits, therapeutics and treatments, which pitted countries against one another, and in the U.S., forced states into competition.

States prepare for their own vaccine safety reviews amid worries about Trump’s influence on the FDA

  States prepare for their own vaccine safety reviews amid worries about Trump’s influence on the FDA It's not yet clear whether the states would seek to block distribution of a vaccine they deem unsafe or ineffective, or just broadcast those concerns far and wide.New York, California, Michigan, West Virginia, Washington D.C. and potentially a handful of others are in the early stages of creating independent panels to review vaccine data as it becomes available – although it’s not yet clear whether all these states would seek to block distribution of a vaccine they deem unsafe or ineffective, or just to broadcast those concerns.

India and South Africa have put forward a novel proposal to replace our current competition-driven approach with cooperation. At a meeting on Oct. 15, they will be asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily relax its rules to allow for more international collaboration in the manufacture of the vaccines and medicines - even without authorization from the companies that created them. Theirs is an ambitious gambit, but one that deserves support.

Even though no one knows when or if a vaccine candidate will succeed as safe and effective, the U.S. and a few other wealthy governments have already paid to reserve millions of doses. Oxfam estimates that 51 percent of the doses to be produced based on current capacity have already been reserved for countries with just 13 percent of the global population. If the rest of the world depends on the same manufacturing facilities, they will have to wait for them to deliver on their preorders and hope that more doses can be produced before too many more die or become seriously ill.

You Can Now Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in China. That Might Not Be a Good Thing

  You Can Now Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in China. That Might Not Be a Good Thing In China, an unofficial vaccine rollout is gathering pace despite the warnings of international public health experts . In September, state-owned SinoPharm revealed that hundreds of thousands of Chinese had already taken its experimental COVID-19 vaccines as part of a state initiative to protect frontline health workers and officials traveling to high-risk nations. In the eastern manufacturing hub of Yiwu this week, hundreds of people queued for a $60 dose of the CoronaVac vaccine made by private firm SinoVac.Read more: ‘We Will Share Our Vaccine with the World.

A dozen pharmaceutical companies have voluntarily pledged to enable "timely availability" and "affordability for lower income countries." Astra Zeneca and Novavax have struck deals with a manufacturer in India to allow millions of doses to be made and sold to India and other lower income countries at a fraction of the cost they expect to charge elsewhere. But these limited pledges fall far short of the open, non-exclusive licensing that could transform the situation.

Without a more open approach to intellectual property, the COVID-19 vaccine, and other products that could help us better respond to the pandemic, will likely remain out of reach for most of the world. As we grapple with the fallout of over 1 million deaths worldwide, hundreds of millions of children still out of school and battered economies, ensuring equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine is not just a public health challenge, it's a fundamental human rights concern.

To be sure, vaccination will not be a silver bullet: many of the candidates in the final stages of trials may not provide lasting immunity, and rising vaccine hesitancy might complicate efforts. Social distancing, widespread testing, contact tracing, bolstering weak healthcare systems, and protecting health workers will continue to be critical. Nonetheless, since mass vaccination is the safest path toward protecting people from infection, severe illness and death, it makes sense to try to ensure availability of as many doses as possible, as quickly as possible.

Pharmaceutical companies have typically maintained control over the intellectual property behind their discoveries, determining prices and deciding who can produce their product. The access to medicines movement has for decades argued that these profit-driven practices are unsavory even in normal times, and demanded more transparent pricing. Those objections seem even more salient in these extraordinary times.

Governments have poured billions of dollars of public money - at least US $19 billion as of mid-September according to estimates shared by Policy Cures Research - into efforts to develop vaccines. But this funding has come with few strings attached. Companies will still control the manufacturing decisions governing both availability and affordability of any vaccine. Without decisive action, our fates could be left in these companies' hands.

Some efforts are already being made to help low- and middle-income countries get vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi-the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations are together backing a new vaccine procurement mechanism called the COVAX Facility. It plans to pool resources and negotiate deals of its own with pharmaceutical companies. But COVAX has only raised $700 million of its $2 billion start-up costs, fails to challenge hoarding by its own participants, and doesn't commit to pooling and sharing intellectual property, or to require pricing transparency, and so these vaccines may not be affordable to much of the world.

In Brazil and South Africa, civil society spent years challenging the high costs of medicines, especially those used in the treatment of HIV or AIDS. Eventually, both governments succumbed to public pressure and issued "compulsory licenses" which authorize producers to make patented products without the consent of the patent holder. The companies hit back with lawsuits. Those battles sparked a rethinking of the global approach to the enforcement of intellectual property rules. The WTO adopted rules to allow governments and companies to produce certain products without the permission of the original patent holders.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, and Germany have all taken steps that permit compulsory licenses. That option, while effective, is ad hoc. The African Union has called on all countries to remove all obstacles and ensure that all relevant technologies, intellectual property, data, and know-how are openly and immediately made available.

If the WTO's Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights adopts the India-South Africa proposal, it has the opportunity to unlock manufacturing potential across the globe. Manufacturing a vaccine is complex, but that doesn't mean that only a handful of companies should be allowed to control it. At Costa Rica's suggestion, 40 countries have called for a voluntary pool to share COVID-19 technologies including tests, medicines, and vaccines. That's a promising start. Adopting the India-South Africa proposal could help make this practical.

Right now, we are on a runaway train barreling toward a future when the majority of the globe is forced to wait for vaccines as the rich serve themselves first. It's time to pull the emergency brake.

Bruno Stagno-Ugarte is deputy executive director for advocacy at Human Rights Watch. He was previously foreign affairs minister of Costa Rica and president of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court. Follow him on Twitter

The race to develop safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 feels existential. But even if all goes according to plans, it's clear that - at least for the foreseeable future - there will be far greater demand for these vaccines than supply. We've already seen the ugly scramble for personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing kits, therapeutics and treatments, which pitted countries against one another, and in the U.S., forced states into competition.

India and South Africa have put forward a novel proposal to replace our current competition-driven approach with cooperation. At a meeting on Oct. 15, they will be asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily relax its rules to allow for more international collaboration in the manufacture of the vaccines and medicines - even without authorization from the companies that created them. Theirs is an ambitious gambit, but one that deserves support.

Even though no one knows when or if a vaccine candidate will succeed as safe and effective, the U.S. and a few other wealthy governments have already paid to reserve millions of doses. Oxfam estimates that 51 percent of the doses to be produced based on current capacity have already been reserved for countries with just 13 percent of the global population. If the rest of the world depends on the same manufacturing facilities, they will have to wait for them to deliver on their preorders and hope that more doses can be produced before too many more die or become seriously ill.

A dozen pharmaceutical companies have voluntarily pledged to enable "timely availability" and "affordability for lower income countries." Astra Zeneca and Novavax have struck deals with a manufacturer in India to allow millions of doses to be made and sold to India and other lower income countries at a fraction of the cost they expect to charge elsewhere. But these limited pledges fall far short of the open, non-exclusive licensing that could transform the situation.

Without a more open approach to intellectual property, the COVID-19 vaccine, and other products that could help us better respond to the pandemic, will likely remain out of reach for most of the world. As we grapple with the fallout of over 1 million deaths worldwide, hundreds of millions of children still out of school and battered economies, ensuring equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine is not just a public health challenge, it's a fundamental human rights concern.

To be sure, vaccination will not be a silver bullet: many of the candidates in the final stages of trials may not provide lasting immunity, and rising vaccine hesitancy might complicate efforts. Social distancing, widespread testing, contact tracing, bolstering weak healthcare systems, and protecting health workers will continue to be critical. Nonetheless, since mass vaccination is the safest path toward protecting people from infection, severe illness and death, it makes sense to try to ensure availability of as many doses as possible, as quickly as possible.

Pharmaceutical companies have typically maintained control over the intellectual property behind their discoveries, determining prices and deciding who can produce their product. The access to medicines movement has for decades argued that these profit-driven practices are unsavory even in normal times, and demanded more transparent pricing. Those objections seem even more salient in these extraordinary times.

Governments have poured billions of dollars of public money - at least US $19 billion as of mid-September according to estimates shared by Policy Cures Research - into efforts to develop vaccines. But this funding has come with few strings attached. Companies will still control the manufacturing decisions governing both availability and affordability of any vaccine. Without decisive action, our fates could be left in these companies' hands.

Some efforts are already being made to help low- and middle-income countries get vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi-the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations are together backing a new vaccine procurement mechanism called the COVAX Facility. It plans to pool resources and negotiate deals of its own with pharmaceutical companies. But COVAX has only raised $700 million of its $2 billion start-up costs, fails to challenge hoarding by its own participants, and doesn't commit to pooling and sharing intellectual property, or to require pricing transparency, and so these vaccines may not be affordable to much of the world.

In Brazil and South Africa, civil society spent years challenging the high costs of medicines, especially those used in the treatment of HIV or AIDS. Eventually, both governments succumbed to public pressure and issued "compulsory licenses" which authorize producers to make patented products without the consent of the patent holder. The companies hit back with lawsuits. Those battles sparked a rethinking of the global approach to the enforcement of intellectual property rules. The WTO adopted rules to allow governments and companies to produce certain products without the permission of the original patent holders.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, and Germany have all taken steps that permit compulsory licenses. That option, while effective, is ad hoc. The African Union has called on all countries to remove all obstacles and ensure that all relevant technologies, intellectual property, data, and know-how are openly and immediately made available.

If the WTO's Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights adopts the India-South Africa proposal, it has the opportunity to unlock manufacturing potential across the globe. Manufacturing a vaccine is complex, but that doesn't mean that only a handful of companies should be allowed to control it. At Costa Rica's suggestion, 40 countries have called for a voluntary pool to share COVID-19 technologies including tests, medicines, and vaccines. That's a promising start. Adopting the India-South Africa proposal could help make this practical.

Right now, we are on a runaway train barreling toward a future when the majority of the globe is forced to wait for vaccines as the rich serve themselves first. It's time to pull the emergency brake.

Bruno Stagno-Ugarte is deputy executive director for advocacy at Human Rights Watch. He was previously foreign affairs minister of Costa Rica and president of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court.

The race to develop safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 feels existential. But even if all goes according to plans, it's clear that - at least for the foreseeable future - there will be far greater demand for these vaccines than supply. We've already seen the ugly scramble for personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing kits, therapeutics and treatments, which pitted countries against one another, and in the U.S., forced states into competition.

India and South Africa have put forward a novel proposal to replace our current competition-driven approach with cooperation. At a meeting on Oct. 15, they will be asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily relax its rules to allow for more international collaboration in the manufacture of the vaccines and medicines - even without authorization from the companies that created them. Theirs is an ambitious gambit, but one that deserves support.

Even though no one knows when or if a vaccine candidate will succeed as safe and effective, the U.S. and a few other wealthy governments have already paid to reserve millions of doses. Oxfam estimates that 51 percent of the doses to be produced based on current capacity have already been reserved for countries with just 13 percent of the global population. If the rest of the world depends on the same manufacturing facilities, they will have to wait for them to deliver on their preorders and hope that more doses can be produced before too many more die or become seriously ill.

A dozen pharmaceutical companies have voluntarily pledged to enable "timely availability" and "affordability for lower income countries." Astra Zeneca and Novavax have struck deals with a manufacturer in India to allow millions of doses to be made and sold to India and other lower income countries at a fraction of the cost they expect to charge elsewhere. But these limited pledges fall far short of the open, non-exclusive licensing that could transform the situation.

Without a more open approach to intellectual property, the COVID-19 vaccine, and other products that could help us better respond to the pandemic, will likely remain out of reach for most of the world. As we grapple with the fallout of over 1 million deaths worldwide, hundreds of millions of children still out of school and battered economies, ensuring equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine is not just a public health challenge, it's a fundamental human rights concern.

To be sure, vaccination will not be a silver bullet: many of the candidates in the final stages of trials may not provide lasting immunity, and rising vaccine hesitancy might complicate efforts. Social distancing, widespread testing, contact tracing, bolstering weak healthcare systems, and protecting health workers will continue to be critical. Nonetheless, since mass vaccination is the safest path toward protecting people from infection, severe illness and death, it makes sense to try to ensure availability of as many doses as possible, as quickly as possible.

Pharmaceutical companies have typically maintained control over the intellectual property behind their discoveries, determining prices and deciding who can produce their product. The access to medicines movement has for decades argued that these profit-driven practices are unsavory even in normal times, and demanded more transparent pricing. Those objections seem even more salient in these extraordinary times.

Governments have poured billions of dollars of public money - at least US $19 billion as of mid-September according to estimates shared by Policy Cures Research - into efforts to develop vaccines. But this funding has come with few strings attached. Companies will still control the manufacturing decisions governing both availability and affordability of any vaccine. Without decisive action, our fates could be left in these companies' hands.

Some efforts are already being made to help low- and middle-income countries get vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi-the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations are together backing a new vaccine procurement mechanism called the COVAX Facility. It plans to pool resources and negotiate deals of its own with pharmaceutical companies. But COVAX has only raised $700 million of its $2 billion start-up costs, fails to challenge hoarding by its own participants, and doesn't commit to pooling and sharing intellectual property, or to require pricing transparency, and so these vaccines may not be affordable to much of the world.

In Brazil and South Africa, civil society spent years challenging the high costs of medicines, especially those used in the treatment of HIV or AIDS. Eventually, both governments succumbed to public pressure and issued "compulsory licenses" which authorize producers to make patented products without the consent of the patent holder. The companies hit back with lawsuits. Those battles sparked a rethinking of the global approach to the enforcement of intellectual property rules. The WTO adopted rules to allow governments and companies to produce certain products without the permission of the original patent holders.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, and Germany have all taken steps that permit compulsory licenses. That option, while effective, is ad hoc. The African Union has called on all countries to remove all obstacles and ensure that all relevant technologies, intellectual property, data, and know-how are openly and immediately made available.

If the WTO's Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights adopts the India-South Africa proposal, it has the opportunity to unlock manufacturing potential across the globe. Manufacturing a vaccine is complex, but that doesn't mean that only a handful of companies should be allowed to control it. At Costa Rica's suggestion, 40 countries have called for a voluntary pool to share COVID-19 technologies including tests, medicines, and vaccines. That's a promising start. Adopting the India-South Africa proposal could help make this practical.

Right now, we are on a runaway train barreling toward a future when the majority of the globe is forced to wait for vaccines as the rich serve themselves first. It's time to pull the emergency brake.

Bruno Stagno-Ugarte is deputy executive director for advocacy at Human Rights Watch. He was previously foreign affairs minister of Costa Rica and president of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court. Follow him on Twitter @BrunoStagno

You Can Now Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in China. That Might Not Be a Good Thing .
In China, an unofficial vaccine rollout is gathering pace despite the warnings of international public health experts . In September, state-owned SinoPharm revealed that hundreds of thousands of Chinese had already taken its experimental COVID-19 vaccines as part of a state initiative to protect frontline health workers and officials traveling to high-risk nations. In the eastern manufacturing hub of Yiwu this week, hundreds of people queued for a $60 dose of the CoronaVac vaccine made by private firm SinoVac.Read more: ‘We Will Share Our Vaccine with the World.

usr: 2
This is interesting!