COVID-19 GLOBAL RESPONSE: RACE FOR A CURE

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As the global pandemic continues, so also is the race to find a vaccine and treatment to overcome the deadly Coronavirus. While there are many organisations in this race, two major global actors that are likely to shape the direction of the eventual solution are, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).

WHO: Hydroxychloroquine

Recently, the World Health Organization began a study among hospitalized patients backed by solid scientific research, to look into whether the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine could be effective in treating COVID-19. But shortly after, WHO temporarily suspended the trials after a study published in medical journal ‘The Lancet’ found that hospitalized Covid-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine had a higher risk of death than those who didn’t take it.

However, that study is now being re-examined and the WHO, has announced its resumption of trials of hydroxychloroquine stating that “the Data Safety Monitoring Board reviewed the data concerning heart risks and found no reasons to discontinue the international trial.”

 GAVI

Created in 2000, GAVI is a global vaccine alliance, led by Bill and Melinda Gates, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines in the world’s poorest countries.

Recently, the UK hosted the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit which saw Heads of States, private sector CEOs, global health leaders, civil society organisations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, other private philanthropists and immunisation champions, come together in a virtual event, to support the mission of GAVI. The summit received $8.8b surpassing its target of $7.4 billion.

Although vaccine experts have described these accelerated development timelines of a Covid-19 vaccine extremely optimistic, it is a relief to know that biopharmaceutical companies are working tirelessly to have a vaccine available sooner than usual and even much more relief to know that organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and GAVI are working towards the affordability and availability of the future vaccine in the poorest countries of the world.

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