sunny.png
Saturday August 8th, 2020 7:00PM

Africa urges no 'obstacles' to a COVID-19 vaccine for all

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Governments around the world should “remove all obstacles” to swift and equitable distribution of any successful COVID-19 vaccine, including by making all intellectual property and technologies immediately available, African countries said Thursday.

The call from the African Union was Africa’s most assertive one yet for a “people’s vaccine” made available to everyone, even as rich countries like the United States make deals with manufacturers for potential supplies.

Using language that might put the pharmaceutical industry on alert, the African Union's new communique specifically mentions the Doha Declaration on public health by World Trade Organization members in 2001, which refers to the right to grant compulsory licenses.

“Compulsory licensing enables a competent government authority to license the use of a patented invention to a third party or government agency without the consent of the patent-holder,” according to the World Health Organization.

The African communique, read out after a continental conference on the quest for COVID-19 vaccines, states that there’s an urgent need for countries to “make full use of legal measures ... to ensure monopolies do not stand in the way of access.” It points out the “barriers” intellectual property posed in the past to affordable vaccines in developing countries.

The statement comes as the coronavirus spreads rapidly in Africa, with more than 337,000 confirmed cases.

Drug companies, however, have argued that they need to protect their intellectual property to fund their expensive research. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization supports a COVID-19 technology access pool where IP and data can be shared voluntarily.

African officials stress the shared approach.

The CEO of vaccines alliance GAVI, Seth Berkley, told the conference that “vaccine nationalism” is real, with initiatives in high-income countries “essentially trying to corner the market in those countries.”

“We are seeing some rich countries making deals with pharmaceutical companies to jump the queue” and obtain potential vaccines, UNAIDS chief Winnie Byanyima told the conference. “It’s not right that those who have money jump the queue while doctors and nurses in Africa die.”

She and others watched as it took years for Africa to have affordable drugs for HIV, which has a higher burden on the continent than anywhere else.

“Governments around the world should heed this powerful call,” Zain Rizvi, a law and policy researcher on access to medicine with the Washington-based consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, told The Associated Press in response to the African request to make all IP and technology immediately available.

“Nobody should be left behind. We cannot repeat the tragic history of delayed access to HIV treatment in sub-Saharan Africa, which cost millions of lives,” Rizvi said.

Also Thursday, the billionaire tasked with speeding up Africa’s access to critical medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic said he had to turn to China for testing kits after manufacturers in the West said the continent would have to wait for months.

Strive Masiyiwa told the African vaccine conference that testing kits “were available but only to the Western countries. ... Abbott and them were saying, ‘You wait until September, wait until October.’ So I didn’t waste any time with them. I spent my time talking to the suppliers in China who were willing to supply immediately.”

And so, Masiyiwa added, “if a vaccine is available in the West but Africa has to wait a year to get it, I’m not going to be there, I’m going to be talking to those people who make that vaccine immediately available.”

___

Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Africa urges no 'obstacles' to a COVID-19 vaccine for all
African countries say governments around the world should “remove all obstacles” to swift and equitable distribution of any successful COVID-19 vaccine, including by making all intellectual property and technologies immediately available
3:06PM ( 4 minutes ago )
The Latest: Union wants Disney to delay opening Florida park
The union representing actors at Walt Disney World says the company should postpone welcoming back guests at its Florida parks
3:02PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Rocky business restart and an enticing offer for MLB
Companies and states are both pushing to reopen, but are finding out that sometimes the timelines don't jibe
2:56PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
EU to help resolve Cyprus-Turkey maritime border wrangle
The European Union's foreign policy chief says the 27-country bloc will help EU-member Cyprus try to negotiate its maritime border with neighboring Turkey with the aim of ending an ongoing wrangle that has raised tensions in the east Mediterranean
2:25PM ( 44 minutes ago )
The Latest: U.N. agency needs cash to keep delivering aid
The head of the U.N. agency that flies crucial medical supplies and aid in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic says it will be forced to ground its planes in a month if it doesn't receive a large injection of cash
1:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
Lufthansa shareholders approve German rescue package
Germany’s Lufthansa has won shareholders’ support at an extraordinary general meeting for a 9 billion-euro ($10.2 billion) rescue package
1:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
Stocks head higher on Wall Street following mixed data
Stock indexes are edging higher on Wall Street Thursday as investors weigh a mixed batch of economic reports highlighting the damage that the coronavirus lockdowns have inflicted on the economy
2:33PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Rebuking China, Senate moves to protect Hong Kong autonomy
In a bipartisan rebuke of China, the U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a bill to impose sanctions on business and groups — including the police — that undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy or erode freedoms promised to Hong Kong residents
2:33PM ( 37 minutes ago )
NFL cancels Hall of Fame game, delays inductions until 2021
The NFL has canceled the Hall of Fame game that traditionally opens the preseason and is delaying the 2020 induction ceremonies for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic
2:28PM ( 42 minutes ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Court rules gyms will remain closed in Michigan
A federal appeals court ruled gyms and fitness centers will remain closed under Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's shut down order from months ago
11:40AM ( 3 hours ago )
Germany slaughterhouse outbreak brings police, mass testing
German police have deployed hundreds of officers across two western regions that have been placed under renewed pandemic lockdown in an attempt to contain a coronavirus outbreak linked to a slaughterhouse
10:38AM ( 4 hours ago )
Wall Street-owned loans tricky for hoteliers in virus era
Since the coronavirus crisis started, hotel owners say they are struggling to get relief on a type of loan that Wall Street investors buy
10:20AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
'Coming back and biting us': US sees virus make a comeback
Hospital administrators and health care experts are warning that parts of the U.S. are on the verge of being overwhelmed by the coronavirus, lamenting that a restriction-weary public and politicians are letting disaster unfold
2:47PM ( 1 day ago )
White House wins ruling on health care price disclosure
The Trump administration has won a court ruling upholding its plan to require hospitals and insurers to disclose the actual prices for common tests and procedures in a bid to promote competition and push down costs
12:32PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: War-torn Libya reports biggest daily virus rise
War-ravaged Libya has reported its biggest daily increase yet in coronavirus infections and deaths, raising fears that a major outbreak could overwhelm its health system, left in shambles by nine years of conflict
8:32PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Health Care
The Latest: Union wants Disney to delay opening Florida park
The union representing actors at Walt Disney World says the company should postpone welcoming back guests at its Florida parks
3:02PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Rocky business restart and an enticing offer for MLB
Companies and states are both pushing to reopen, but are finding out that sometimes the timelines don't jibe
2:56PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Biden, Trump stage rare dueling events in pandemic era
Both President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are swinging through key battleground states on Thursday
2:50PM ( 19 minutes ago )
US health officials estimate 20M Americans have had virus
U.S. officials estimate that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, with millions never knowing they had it
2:48PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Protesters: Remove statues of slave kneeling before Lincoln
Calls are mounting for the removal of twin Emancipation memorials in Washington, D
2:42PM ( 28 minutes ago )