In an attempt to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic, major world leaders, on April 25, unanimously pledged to accelerate work on tests, drugs and vaccines against COVID-19. In addition to the development of effective treatment, they also vowed to share them with those who need it- both rich and poor. However, the WHO-led initiative did not see participation from the United States which has lambasted it in the past.
Of the many who joined the video conference to launch what the WHO called a ‘landmark collaboration’ were French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and South African President Cyril Ramsphosa. According to reports, the historic collaboration aims to speed the development of safe and effective drugs, tests and vaccines for the COVID-19 and prevention, diagnosis and treatment infection. It also aimed at ensuring that the drugs were made accessible to all.
Speaking at the virtual conference, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, "We are facing a common threat which we can only defeat with a common approach. Experience has told us that even when tools are available they have not been equally available to all. We cannot allow that to happen."
Previously, during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009, the organisation received criticism for the inequitable distribution of the drugs and that the wealthier nation purchased more. Elaborating further, Peter Sands, head of the global fund to fight on AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria said that they had to make sure that people who need them, get them. "The lessons from AIDS must be learned. Too many millions died before anti-retroviral medicines were made widely accessible," he added
Meanwhile, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said that the objective at a global pledging effort on May 4 would raise to 7.5 billion Euros to ramp up work on prevention, diagnostics and treatment. While major leaders from the Americas, Europe and Africa joined many leading powers like the United States, India and Russia were absent from the meeting.