Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, national governments have been scrambling to secure treatments and vaccines that are currently in development. These efforts, being dubbed the relatively new term ‘vaccine nationalism’, will ultimately hamper equitable access to much needed COVID-19 technologies. Countries should rather embrace a Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), says global health advocate Tom Buis in his new article in MBt magazine.
Creating a pooling mechanism of knowledge, patents and knowhow is the best answer to growing vaccine nationalism and monopolies of life-saving medical technologies. The government of Costa Rica was the first to suggest such a pooling mechanism, i.e. a global database. In an open letter to the WHO the Costa Rican government suggested to create a voluntary pooling mechanism – in line with the Medicines Patent Pool – for COVID-19-related knowledge, knowhow and intellectual property. The initiative prompted NGOs in various WHO member states to call upon their governments to support this call by Costa Rica. In the Netherlands, Wemos gathered support of many Dutch NGOs and public health experts from academia.
Global health advocate Tom Buis: “It is great to see that the Dutch government is supporting C-TAP. Now it is time for the Dutch government, and others who support C-TAP, to take the next step and to condition public funding of public and private actors, to contribute to the pooling of COVID-19-related technologies. Universities that receive public funding for COVID-19-related research should share their data knowledge and IP with the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool. Regional or national initiatives focused on gaining preferential access are not the way forward. I believe C-TAP is currently the best framework we have in ensuring that everyone, everywhere has access to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.”
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