World leaders launch plan to speed up COVID-19 Drug, Vaccine; The US remains far away

COVID-19 Drug, Vaccine;

Vaccine; The US remains far away

World leaders launch plan to speed up COVID-19 Drug,

The goal is to accelerate safe and effective drug treatments, tests, and vaccines to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19, a lung disease caused by a novel coronavirus - and ensure equal access to treatments for the rich and poor.

"We hear a general threat that we can only be defeated by a common approach," WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as he opened a virtual meeting.

During the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009, it was criticized that vaccine distribution was not the same because more affluent countries could buy more.

"We need to make sure that those who need them," said Peter Sands, head of the Global Fund for Fighting AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. "The lessons of AIDS need to be learned. Many millions die before anti-retroviral drugs are publicly accessible."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that the goal of a global pledge effort on May 4 would cost 7.5 billion euros ($ 8.10 billion) for work on prevention, diagnostics, and medicines.

"This is another step, but many are needed at the moment," von der Leyen told the conference.


Leaders from Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas also joined the video, but several major countries did not participate, including China, India, and Russia.

A spokesman for the US mission in Geneva had previously told Reuters that the United States could not participate.


More than 2.7 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and nearly 190,000 have died since a new coronavirus appeared in downtown Wuhan late last year, according to a Reuters story.

More than 100 potential COVID-19 vaccines are currently being developed, including six already in clinical trials, Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI vaccine alliance, a public-private partnership that spearheads immunization campaigns in poor countries.

Yuan Qiong, legal and policy advisor at Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Access Campaign worked on the promise but called for concrete steps. 

Reporting with Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Michael Shields in Zurich, Kate Kelland in London and Michel Rose in Paris; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson

Our standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principle.

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