Geneva / Zurich: World leaders joined the World Health Organization (WHO) last Friday to launch an initiative to accelerate and share the work of medicines, tests and vaccines against COVID-19 worldwide.
French President Emmanuel Macron and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen attended the video conference to announce the leaders of the plan, but the United States did not participate.
When convening a virtual meeting, WHO Director General Tedros Adnom Gabriassos said, “The world needs these tools and their rapid development.” “We face a common threat, only a common approach can be overcome.”
WHO said on Thursday evening that it will announce “a milestone partnership” on Friday to accelerate the development of safe and effective drugs, tests and vaccines to prevent, diagnose and treat lung disease caused by new coronaviruses COVID-19 disease.
A spokesman for the US mission in Geneva told Reuters before the meeting that the US would not intervene.
In an email reply to the survey, he said, “The United States will not officially participate.” “We hope to learn more about this initiative to support international cooperation and develop a vaccine for COVID-19 as soon as possible.”
US President Donald Trump condemned the slow response of the WHO to the epidemic and was “targeting China” and announced a suspension of funding to United Nations agencies.
According to Reuters statistics, since the virus appeared in the central city of Wuhan late last year, more than 2.7 million people worldwide have been infected with COVID-19 and nearly 190,000 people have died.
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, said that more than 100 potential COVID-19 vaccines are currently under development, including 6 that are already in clinical trials.
Before participating in the official WHO announcement, he said at another press conference in Geneva: “We need to ensure that everyone has enough vaccines and we will need global leadership to identify and prioritize candidate vaccines.”
Berkeley said that global production capacity needs to be improved before choosing the “winner” vaccine, noting that the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the World Bank are studying this issue.
“We cannot repeat what happened in 2009: the H1N1 vaccine, when the supply in developing countries was insufficient, or the supply only appeared later.”
Berkeley said another key question is how effective the vaccine is in people at high risk for COVID-19.
“How do they work in the elderly? Are they a single dose or multiple doses?” He said, noting that the elderly’s immune system is weak.