Countries are struggling to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to ensure that vaccines are purchased immediately after they are on the market. As in all bidding wars, the wealthiest bidders are winning: in fact, the worlds high-income countries have ordered enough vaccine doses to cover more than twice their own population.
Obviously, it would be a disaster for poorer countries.
Of course, poor countries suffer the most. And rich countries are not immune. Were both going to be the second Australia or New Zealand - two countries that, after a long and arduous effort, have few cases in their territory, but their economies are still depressed because their trading partners are still under blockade. Sometimes, new carriers of the virus travel across the South Pacific, creating new clusters of the disease that grow and spread, forcing schools and offices to close again.
Even if there is an oversupply of vaccines, there is still a risk of reinfection and epidemics in rich countries - where not everyone chooses to be vaccinated. No country can be a bastion in a pandemic. The only way to eliminate the threat of this disease anywhere is to eliminate it everywhere.
This is where the novel coronavirus pneumonia initiative is being developed and produced, and the new ACT-A strategy for the new crown is being made. The initiative was initiated and supported by organizations such as the global alliance for vaccines and immunization (GAVI) and the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (the Global Fund). It has been said that for 20 years, they have become the main tool for diagnosis and medicine for poor people in the world, but few of them have contributed to the worlds major health experts and multilateral organizations. These organizations have the technical ability to solve problems, but lack of sustained and strong financial support.
The efforts of pharmaceutical companies have made it easier for the global shortage of funds. Novel coronavirus pneumonia, the chief executive of the big pharma, signed an agreement this week to ensure that people can effectively ensure that people around the world, regardless of their income, can use the latest new crown vaccine, drugs and diagnostic tools, which is the basis of other commitments. Many companies said they would not benefit from any new coronavirus vaccines and would cooperate in the production of therapeutic drugs. For example, if one company has successfully developed a drug, other companies can make it in their own factories.
However, more support is needed to deal with the global epidemic. Even if the worlds poorest countries just want to vaccinate their high-risk groups (health workers and the elderly), they are still unable to ensure adequate supplies. That would require about 1.6 billion doses of vaccine, and the current gap is nearly one billion doses.
Rich countries need not only generosity, but also perseverance. The novel coronavirus pneumonia vaccine ready for sale next year may be very effective in preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus between humans, or is very effective in preventing the new crown pneumonia from becoming mild to severe. Either way, it will be a very positive breakthrough. But in the latter case, the world can not relax its vigilance, and it still needs to continue to invest in research and development until a vaccine that can effectively stop the spread of the virus appears. It is believed that the continuous innovation of new vaccines and drug platforms can not only help us fight the next new virus, but also hope to play a role in fighting against ancient enemies, such as cancer and HIV.
As efforts to end the epidemic become increasingly global, this work will become more difficult and expensive, and we should have full expectations for this. I was once impressed by a picture of a group of health workers who had to trek through waist deep floods carrying vaccine refrigerators to reach remote villages during polio eradication in India.
Novel coronavirus pneumonia cases in the poorest areas of the world will also require similar grass-roots health personnel networks - which can cover even places where roads are unreachable. If there are new signs of the epidemic in the future, these health workers can also give timely warning. There is no doubt that building strong health systems can help us prevent the next pandemic.
The sooner the world realizes this, the sooner the crisis will end.