Today, 29 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), a global initiative aimed at making various health technologies and products, such as vaccines, tests and treatments to fight COVID-19, accessible to all.
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The platform for open, collaborative sharing of knowledge, data and intellectual property on existing and new health tools to combat COVID-19 was first suggested back in March by Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado Quesada who today has joined WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during the launch.
In his address, President Alvarado has noted that the new initiative “will ensure the latest and best science benefits all of humanity” and stressed that key tools in the coronavirus response “must be made universally available as global public goods.”
Dr Tedros has underscored that to overcome the pandemic, global solidarity and collaboration are essential. “Based on strong science and open collaboration, this information-sharing platform will help provide equitable access to life-saving technologies around the world,” he said.
C-TAP will function in parallel to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and other initiatives across the world.
Participation in C-TAP will be voluntary and based on social solidarity. As a one-stop shop for COVID-19-related information, the Pool is hoped to accelerate the discovery of vaccines, medicines and other technologies and to fast-track product development. The ultimate goal is to ensure faster and more equitable access to existing and new COVID-19 health products.
The initiative has the following five key elements:
- Public disclosure of gene sequences and data.
- Registration and publication of research results in line with the Joint statement on public disclosure of results from clinical trials.
- Governments and other funders are encouraged to include clauses in funding agreements with pharmaceutical companies and other innovators about equitable distribution, affordability and the publication of trial data.
- Licensing any potential treatment, diagnostic, vaccine or other health technology to the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool.
- Promotion of open innovation models and technology transfer that increase local manufacturing and supply capacity (including through the Open Covid Pledge and the Technology Access Partnership (TAP) launched last week).
WHO together with Costa Rica and all the supporters have also issued a ‘Solidarity Call to Action’ inviting stakeholders to join the initiative, with key groups being governments, research and development funders, researchers, industry and civil society. Besides a number of international organisations, partners and experts, the call has so far received support from the following countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Mozambique, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Sudan, The Netherlands, Timor-Leste, Uruguay.
Interested parties can find more information on the initiative here.