With the global spotlight on COVID-19, the international community is now pushing for open research and shared technology in fighting the pandemic.
Palau has joined more than 30 countries and international institutions that have signed up in support of the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool — a new initiative started by the World Health Organization and Costa Rica.
The initiative wants to make COVID-19-related vaccines, tests, treatments, and other health technologies accessible to all.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. emphasized the need to ensure Small Island Developing States such as Palau have equitable access to COVID-19 health technologies.
“Making this future a reality is why this call to action is so important. Just as the virus does not discriminate based on passports, neither should its cure. Palau joins the countries around the world and the WHO in this call to action and affirms that the health technologies being developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic should ve available to everyone,” Remengesau said.
He added: “We are already seeing deeply worrying statements about countries that research vaccines and manufacture treatments… But where does that leave the smallest of us? Who lacks this research and manufacturing capabilities?”
The initiative — which was launched last week — has several key elements including the public disclosure of data related to COVID-19 and licensing of any potential treatment to a UN-backed public health body.
Governments are also encouraged to include equitable distribution and affordability clauses in their agreements with pharmaceutical companies.