WHO PQ listing for Remdesivir

A SHORT BLOG: Questions are beginning to emerge as to why WHO proceeded to give a prequalification listing to Remdesivir, when it was aware of the results of its Solidarity Therapeutics trial on the drug’s lack of impact on the treatment for COVID-19. At the bi-weekly presser (on 16.10) last week, WHO’s top officials discussed briefly the independent processes of the prequalification process for Remdesivir (officially announced on the 15th) and the results of the Solidarity trial (highlighted on the 16th.)(See Soumya Swaminathan and Mariangela Simão address this question, half way into the briefing) It is also understood that the results from the Solidarity trial … Continue reading WHO PQ listing for Remdesivir

A peek into COVAX machine

INSIDE COVAX: CONTRACTS & GOVERNANCE A closer look at the model contracts issued by the COVAX Facility and how it will be governed Gavi’s COVAX Facility is gearing into operations mode, from acquiring an approved legal status, to building its governance structure; issuing contracts to participating countries to negotiating deals with vaccine manufacturers; the COVID-19 vaccine machine is here. Contentious issues including liability provisions for participating countries and cost-sharing for vaccines doses for low and middle-income countries continue to hashed out behind the scenes. More than 180 countries are set to have joined the Facility. This story is based on a review … Continue reading A peek into COVAX machine

Inflection Point? TRIPS Waiver proposal

THE TRIPS WAIVER PROPOSAL – AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME? Picture this, more than half a year into the pandemic of COVID-19, upwards of 38 million infections, a million and more lives lost; vaccine nationalism embraced by politicians of all stripes; hedged bets on numerous bilateral deals; short-termist planning for vaccines for a pandemic that might last years; economies in dire straits; limited manufacturing capacities; inadequate supply of all medical products; all this on the back of rising infections and mortality, with millions still susceptible. We are here. And now consider this, a new legal measure which in one … Continue reading Inflection Point? TRIPS Waiver proposal

“Consult us more”: Countries to WHO

COUNTRIES WANT WHO TO CONSULT MORE: EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING Countries praise WHO efforts on addressing the pandemic, but want more consultation A number of countries called on WHO for greater consultations on the decisions around the response to the pandemic at the Special Executive Board [EB] meeting earlier this week. From demands on consultations on the allocation framework that will determine access to COVID-19 health products, to the governance structure of the Gavi-led COVAX Facility, countries seemed to suggest that they have been left out of these consultation processes. To be sure, in a repeat of the World Health Assembly in May 2020, countries … Continue reading “Consult us more”: Countries to WHO

COVID-19 Diagnostics: The Full Picture

The pandemic has revealed the entrenched inequities in the world, and the access to diagnostics for COVID-19 is also illustrative of this. As per latest announcements here in Geneva, 80% of the world’s population – living in low- and middle-income countries – will initially receive only 20% of two kinds of antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests, while the remaining 20% – those in high and upper middle-income countries – can essentially procure 80% of these tests. Undoubtedly, it is welcome that 120 million tests for the pandemic will be made available to low and middle income countries over a period of six months. … Continue reading COVID-19 Diagnostics: The Full Picture

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Gavi’s Discomfort With Civil Society on Vaccines

The hesitation of letting the door open to include civil society organizations, to effectively contribute to defining discussions on vaccines for the pandemic, especially for a massive immunization agency, is perplexing. Gavi – The Vaccine Alliance has vaccinated more than 820 million children, is backed by the most powerful funders of global health, and has received nearly $2 billion in pledges every year for the last few years[1]. Why is one of the biggest agencies in global health, wary of activists? Geneva Health Files tried to understand the reasons behind Gavi’s insistence on excluding Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on COVID-19 … Continue reading Gavi’s Discomfort With Civil Society on Vaccines

Reading the AstraZeneca-Oxford Trial. What’s at stake?

Given the scientific, economic, political, commercial and moral compulsions around vaccines for the pandemic, the adverse event in a clinical trial of a leading vaccine candidate has been a humbling moment for citizens, governments, companies and hopefully, politicians. The goal of this expert interview is to help us read the recent pause in a leading clinical trial (AZD1222) following a suspected adverse event and the subsequent news of the resumption of the trial in the UK. A lot has been published already on this trial, already in phase III, but a few aspects worth underscoring. First, that Pascal Soriot, CEO of … Continue reading Reading the AstraZeneca-Oxford Trial. What’s at stake?

German-French Proposal For WHO Could Skew Balance Of Power In Donors’ Favor

The reform proposal led by Germany and France to strengthen WHO’s emergencies response and bolster global health security, could result in a balance of power tilting in favour of donor countries, diplomatic sources in Geneva say. Questions are being raised on whether the proposal truly seeks to empower WHO, or if it is also an attempt to fill the leadership vacuum caused by the retreat of the U.S. from the multilateral institution.   The proposal, being perceived in some quarters, as a genuine effort to strengthen multilateralism in global health, may be focusing too much on global health security; and risks … Continue reading German-French Proposal For WHO Could Skew Balance Of Power In Donors’ Favor

The story of Geneva Health Files

Geneva Health Files sent out the first edition of its newsletter on Substack. Here it is: Dear Subscribers, I am pleased and honored to be writing my first post to you. Welcome to the Geneva Health Files community.   An introduction is due for many new readers. I am an Indian journalist who has been working in Switzerland for the last decade. I publish Geneva Health Files, a website that tracks the governance of global health. Geneva Health Files was born and launched in the midst of the on-going pandemic. Here’s a story of how we got here. Global Health … Continue reading The story of Geneva Health Files

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The Covax Exchange: Gavi’s plans to let countries trade in vaccines

On Gavi’s table: plans to let countries trade “vaccine credits” like stocks Vaccines for COVID-19 are not yet a reality, but plans are afoot to enable trading in stocks of potential vaccines. Gavi says the plan will allow countries to exchange vaccines doses with each other, allowing each economy to optimise to their own needs. In order to get a firm commitment from rich countries to commit to buying vaccines from Gavi’s Covax Facility, the immunization agency is working on a plan for a “Covax Exchange” – where countries can trade their ‘vaccine credits’, according to sources. This is ostensibly … Continue reading The Covax Exchange: Gavi’s plans to let countries trade in vaccines