By Chioma Obinna
Thirty countries and multiple international partners and institutions have signed up to support the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) an initiative aimed at making vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to fight COVID-19 accessible to all.
The Pool was first proposed in March by President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica,.
At the Launch of the initiave, President Alvarado of Costa Rica who propsed the initaive said: the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool will ensure the latest and best science benefits for all humanity,.
“Vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments and other key tools in the coronavirus response must be made universally available as global public goods”.
On his part, the World Health Organisation, WHO, Director-General , Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that global solidarity and collaboration are essential to overcoming COVID-19. . “Based on strong science and open collaboration, this information-sharing platform will help provide equitable access to life-saving technologies around the world.”
The COVID-19 (Technology) Access Pool will be voluntary and based on social solidarity. It will provide a one-stop-shop for scientific knowledge, data and intellectual property to be shared equitably by the global community.
The aim is to accelerate the discovery of vaccines, medicines and other technologies through open-science research, and to fast-track product development by mobilizing additional manufacturing capacity. This will help ensure faster and more equitable access to existing and new COVID-19 health products.
The five key elements to the initiative includes public disclosure of gene sequences and data; transparency around the publication of all clinical trial results; 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 Medicines Patent Pool – a United Nations-backed public health body that works to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries.
Promotion of open innovation models and technology transfer that increase local manufacturing and supply capacity, including through joining the Open Covid Pledge and the Technology Access Partnership (TAP).
With supportive countries across the globe, C-TAP will serve as a sister initiative to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and other initiatives to support efforts to fight COVID-19 worldwide.
WHO, Costa Rica and all the co-sponsor countries have also issued a solidarity call to action” asking relevant stakeholders to join and support the initiative, with recommended actions for key groups, such as governments, research and development funders, researchers, industry and civil society.