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  • Scientist carries out laboratory tests, 2020.

    Scientist carries out laboratory tests, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 10 September 2020
Opinion

"We cannot solve this crisis in the short term, but the vaccine must be a public health good accessible to all," said the UN Secretary-General.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised some US$3 billion for its programs to develop and distribute COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. To universalize health care in this area, however, the multilateral institution needs an additional US$35 billion.

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"In terms of financing, we need to take a giant step," warned the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who explained that at least USD15 billion should be raised in the next three months to optimize public health interventions.

During a virtual meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Initiative, which the WHO created in April to finance research on medical tools against the pandemic, he also emphasized the need to distribute vaccines in countries that do not have the purchasing power to buy them in great quantities.

Guterres said that the pandemic "is the main current threat to global security" but it is not yet too late for the international community to join forces to speed up the research of vaccines, tests, and treatments against the coronavirus in the next 12 months.

"Let's be clear: there is no panacea for this pandemic. We cannot solve this crisis in the short term, but the vaccine must be a public health good accessible to all because COVID-19 does not respect borders," said the UN Secretary-General.

The WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that "certain nationalisms could compromise the progress achieved and make it difficult for this pandemic to end," so he reiterated his call for unity on a global scale to "increase the general capacity of research on vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics to save lives."

The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recalled that 95 percent of the world's population continues to be at risk and stressed that COVID-19 vaccines should be considered a "common good" so that access is facilitated for all populations.

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