BFF-35 UN launches global push to accelerate production of virus vaccine

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HEALTH-VIRUS-UN-VACCINES

UN launches global push to accelerate production of virus vaccine

GENEVA, April 24, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – The UN on Friday joined forces with
world leaders and the private sector on an initiative to speed up development
of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and ensure equal access for all.

“This is a landmark collaboration to accelerate the development,
production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics, and
therapeutics for COVID-19,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom
Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.

“Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the
tools to defeat COVID-19,” he said.

The event was co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, European
Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and Melinda Gates of the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation.

It included UN chief Antonio Guterres as a speaker, as well as global
leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President
Cyril Ramaphosa.

Conspicuously absent were leaders from China, where the novel coronavirus
first surfaced late last year, and from the United States — the country
currently hardest-hit by the pandemic, with nearly 50,000 dead and close to
900,000 infected.

Worldwide, more than 190,000 people have died in the pandemic and more
than 2.7 million have been infected.

“We face a global public enemy like no other,” Guterres told the briefing.
“A world free of COVID-19 requires the most massive public health effort in
history.”

He stressed the need to ensure that any diagnostic tests developed to
detect the new virus, any drugs produced to treat it, and any vaccine made to
prevent it should be provided to all of those in need.

“The world needs the development, production and equitable delivery of
safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutics and diagnostics,” Guterres
said.

“Not a vaccine or treatments for one country or one region or one-half of
the world, but a vaccine and treatment that are affordable, safe, effective,
easily-administered and universally available, for everyone, everywhere,” he
said.
“None of us is safe until all of us are safe.

“COVID-19 respects no borders. COVID-19 anywhere is a threat to people
everywhere.”

BSS/AFP/MRU/2029hrs