Covid-19 manufacturing roundup: WHO letter outlines reboot of IP sharing program; India backs down on domestically-produced vaccine trial
While vaccine shortages have kept many countries in the midst of the pandemic, the World Health Organization is rebooting its IP sharing scheme.
The Costa Rican president Alvarado Quesada and Director General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus released a letter Thursday calling for the revamping of the Solidarity Call to Action plan that was outlined a year ago.
“The single most important priority of the global community is to stop the COVID-19 pandemic in its tracks, to halt its rapid transmission and reverse the trend of consequential global distress,” the letter says. “We know that this goal is only achievable when everyone, everywhere can access the health technologies they need for COVID-19 detection, prevention, treatment and response.”
Last year, the Covid-19 technology access pool was launched, but failed to gain interest from the pharmaceutical industry or higher-income countries. The program relies on voluntary pooling of IP and manufacturing trade secrets, something that some countries such as the US and Russia have expressed interest in without much pharma buy-in.
India backs down on domestically produced vaccine trial
As India fights a second wave of Covid-19 that has killed tens of thousands of people, its government has decided to forgo local trials of a vaccine for the “well-established” jabs, Reuters reports.
Residents have been receiving AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has been manufactured at the Serum Institute in Pune, Maharashtra. Some Indians have received Covaxin, from Bharat Biotech, and recently the country rolled out Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. But the jabs are in short supply.
The government is in talks with Pfizer, J&J and Moderna for the earliest possible imports of the vaccines, Reuters reports, but an insistence on local trials led to delayed discussions with Pfizer.
None of the drugmakers have submitted applications for regulatory approval, the government has said. Only 3% of the country’s population has been vaccinated. The number of reported cases has dropped in the last 2 weeks, but deaths are still high: 3,487 people died from the virus Wednesday alone.