The World Health Organization (WHO) Friday launched a global initiative designed to create a repository for sharing of data, technology and treatments in the fight against COVID-19, the respiratory ailment caused by the coronavirus.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, who had the original idea, launched the initiative from Geneva.
Tedros said the project, known as the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, C-TAP, would build a worldwide "technology repository" for vaccines, medicines and diagnostics, to fight the pandemic. He invited companies or governments that develop effective therapies to contribute the patents to a medicine patent pool, which would then sublicense the patents to generic manufacturers.
Tedros said the idea is based on the Medicines Patent Pool that was successful in expanding access to treatments for HIV and hepatitis C. While Tedros said he understands the importance of patents in promoting innovation, he added people must be the priority.
Tedros stressed that "tools to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19 must be accessible to all people."
C-TAP is voluntary, and the WHO is urging more countries to join the collective effort. Costa Rica and 35 other countries so far have signed on to the initiative.