This month the World Health Organization (WHO) will be launching a platform for open, collaborative sharing of knowledge, data and intellectual property on existing and new health tools to combat COVID-19.
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According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the initiative was suggested back at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado Quesada. Now, several countries are backing the proposal.
This is going to be a health technology repository for various tools and products that may work against COVID-19, such as vaccines, medicines, diagnostics, and so on. It will pool data, knowledge and intellectual property for existing or new COVID-19 health products. With open sharing of science and data, the project is aimed at producing scalable technologies and delivering ‘global public goods’ for everyone through lowering costs and equitable access.
The platform will be officially launched by WHO and Costa Rica on 29 May. WHO will accompany it with the online publication of a Solidarity Call to Action inviting public and private sectors to support the initiative.
Appealing to global social responsibility, President Alvarado called for academia, companies, research institutions and cooperation agencies to join the effort of “promoting more global nonexclusive voluntary licensing.”
“We need to unleash the full power of science, without caveats or restrictions, to deliver innovations that are scalable, usable, and benefit everyone, everywhere, at the same time,” said Dr Tedros.
There are now over 4.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, with over 308,000 deaths reported and over 1.6 million recovered, according to data released by Johns Hopkins University.