Covid-19 vaccine: COVAX, the coalition of 165 countries that seeks to guarantee it to the poorest countries

Reuters

Getting a vaccine with proven effectiveness will not be enough to stop the pandemic, as it will be necessary to guarantee its distribution.

Of the dozens of vaccines for covid-19 currently being developed in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that “most will not be successful.”

Menos de 10 of about 170 projects for vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19, are found in stage 3 of your tests, which defines your success or failure.

“Governments are under pressure to secure supplies for their populations of those that succeed. If governments compete, most countries could be left out,” warns WHO.

So in this race at least 165 countries have expressed interest to be part of a joint understanding that aims to guarantee equitable access to a vaccine that works.

They have named it COVAX mechanism.

Until last month 75 of those 165 countries they had raised their hands like financiers development of a “portfolio” of vaccines that have the best chance of success, WHO reported.

Those nations accepted share the possible success of one or more of those vaccinationswith 90 other countries with less economic possibilities or weaker health systems. In total, 60% of the world‘s population would have access to vaccination.

Sputnik V vaccine vials from Russia

Reuters

Russia has started production of its own vaccine, but its effectiveness and how widely available it will be is not yet known.

For Seth Berkley, Executive Director of the Gavi Foundation – which co-leads the initiative together with the Coalition for Innovations in Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) and the WHO – COVAX may be the only truly global solution.

“For the vast majority of countries, whether they can afford their own doses or need assistance, it means receiving a guaranteed share of the doses and avoid stay in ethe end of the row“he said at a WHO assembly.

Argentina, Brazil and Mexico They are among the Latin American countries that have spoken out in favor of the COVAX alliance.

However, large economies such as United States, China, the European Union and Russia they indicated that, for the time being, they will not join the coalition.

This raises concerns that the current pandemic will worsen what happened in 2009 with the H1N1 crisis.

On that occasion, some countries were trying to immunize their entire population instead of respecting the international orientation of vaccinating the most vulnerable in all countries.

What are you planning to do?

Vaccine projects that claim to be in advanced stage 3, such as that of Russia, China or the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca – have not yet proven their effectiveness in mass groups.

Even so, several countries have already agreed produce them on a large scale, such as the Argentina-Mexico association to produce and distribute the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Latin America.

As the experts point out, this is a coin tossAlthough you save time by producing it even without having the results of its effectiveness, everything can be lost if it does not demonstrate its effectiveness in tests.

Oxford staff

OXFORD UNIVERSITY/John Cairns

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be produced and packaged between Mexico and Argentina, although its tests have not yet been completed.

Faced with this problem, the WHO says that all COVAX countries “they will share the risks associated with vaccine development” through the creation of a global financing fund.

On the one hand, they will invest in the advance manufacture of candidate vaccines from their portfolio “as soon as their success is demonstrated.”

On the other, they will join the acquisitions of these vaccines “to achieve sufficient volumes” next year with 2 billion doses that have passed WHO approval.

“Through COVAX, our aspiration is power vaccinate the most vulnerable 20% of the population of each participating country, regardless of income level, by the end of 2021, “he says Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI.

WHO headquarters in Geneva

Reuters

The WHO has warned that only a global coordinated effort to eliminate the threat of SARS-CoV-2.

The mechanism seeks to distribute the doses proportionally to the populations of each country, “initially prioritizing health workers and then expanding to cover 20% of the population”

A next round of doses would be established “based on the country’s needs, vulnerability and the threat of covid-19”, in addition to there being a “humanitarian reserve”.

Financing

COVAX is part of the Covid-19 Tool Access Accelerator, or simply Acelerador ACT, which the WHO created in response to the pandemic.

Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the WHO, says that for it to really work it takes “that all countries support” the initiative.

In July, a consultation process began with the 165 countries that have initially expressed their intention to participate and that must provide an advance payment and a commitment to buy doses by the end of August, which will make them participate in COVAX.

In the first phase, COVAX says that requires US $ 2 billion,of which they have already raised US $ 600 million.

WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on August 13 that “COVAX already has nine candidate vaccines in its portfolio, which are in phase 2 or 3 trials.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), says Tedros, estimates that the pandemic costs the world $ 375 billion and that in two years it will exceed US $ 12 billion, if it doesn’t stop.

“It is easy to think of the Accelerator as a research and development measure, but it is really the best economic stimulus in which the world can invest,” he says.

“The sooner we stop the pandemic, the sooner we can ensure that internationally interconnected sectors, such as travel, commerce and tourism, can really recover. There is hope.”

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