By SARAH WHEATON:-
China has some of the leading candidates in the global race for an immunization, with four already in human trials.
China will treat a coronavirus vaccine developed there as a “global public good,” President Xi Jinping said Monday.
China has some of the leading candidates in the global race for an immunization, with four already in human trials. While the practical implications of Xi’s commitment remain unclear, it’s a sign that Beijing is aligning itself, at least rhetorically, with a broader movement to ensure equal access to coronavirus breakthroughs.
“COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good,” Xi told the World Health Assembly at its virtual gathering. “This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.”
Xi’s announcement could further isolate the U.S., which has taken steps to control exports of an experimental treatment and was subject of rumors that it wanted to secure exclusive access to a vaccine.
Washington also objected to casting coronavirus remedies as “global public goods” in a resolution about the COVID-19 response expected to be adopted by World Health Organization member countries on Tuesday. Global public goods could be subject to weaker intellectual property protections or other measures to reduce their costs and make them more widely available.
Xi’s statement is “very significant” said Yuanqiong Hu, senior legal and policy adviser for MSF Access Campaign, which backs lower drug prices. As both an R&D and manufacturing powerhouse, China needs “to be fully on board to deliver this collective global vision.”
Yet it’s the debate at the WHA, Hu noted, that will be key to devising rules for how countries collaborate.
Ashleigh Furlong and Carlo Martuscelli contributed to this report.