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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Giving in to supply constraints: WHO’s Allocation Plan

New Details on WHO’s Draft Allocation Framework – A Deep Dive With more than 13 million cases of COVID19 in mid-July 2020, and rising, WHO has an unenviable and difficult task at hand, to map and decide who gets vaccines and medicines first. As expected, as it works its way on devising an allocation framework (first reported here), it is inevitably having to wrestle with politically contentious decisions in the backdrop of rising vaccine nationalism and countries striking up bilateral deals with drug companies. It will have to decide, and soon, if it will tackle head on – the elephant … Continue reading Giving in to supply constraints: WHO’s Allocation Plan

Timeline: WHO’s COVID-19 response

WHO has published a handy timeline on its response to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020. It says that the timeline is not exhaustive, but the webpage is a ready reckoner of the myriad activities that constitute WHO’s response to the pandemic. Press briefings: More than 70 media briefings as on June 29, 2020. WHO DG’s opening remarks, transcripts, videos and audio recordings for these media briefings have been filed on its website. WHO says there have been 23 Member State Briefings and information sessions. EPI-WIN, WHO’s information network for epidemics, has convened 60 technical webinars, the technical agency says. … Continue reading Timeline: WHO’s COVID-19 response

COVID19 Tech Platform – Countries pass up opportunity for a binding mechanism to ensure equitable access to meds

New text on WHO’s call to action on the COVID19 tech platform Member states of World Health Organization are letting go of an opportunity to enforce binding mechanisms on sharing and pooling technology related to fighting COVID19 that would ensure equitable, affordable access to medicines, diagnostics and technologies. At the best of times, treaty-making is an uphill task, if not impossible, amongst more than 190 countries, but the pandemic could have been the imperative for countries to come together to challenge the status quo on the contentious and high-stakes game of access of medicines.  WHO is set to announce on … Continue reading COVID19 Tech Platform – Countries pass up opportunity for a binding mechanism to ensure equitable access to meds