WHO Pushes For Poorer Nations’ Access To Merck’s, Other Covid Drugs
A World Health Organization program is trying to make covid tests and treatments easier to access for poorer nations, aiming at getting antiviral drug course prices down to as low as $10. Separately, Pope Francis has urged "a gesture of humanity" from drugmakers to release IP on covid drugs.
WHO-Led Program Aims To Buy Antiviral COVID-19 Pills For $10
A World Health Organization-led programme to ensure poorer countries get fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments aims to secure antiviral drugs for patients with mild symptoms for as little as $10 per course, a draft document seen by Reuters says. Merck & Co's experimental pill molnupiravir is likely to be one of the drugs, and other drugs to treat mild patients are being developed. (Guarascio, 10/19)
'Make A Gesture Of Humanity': Pope Francis Urges Drug Makers To Release Covid-19 Vaccine Patents
Amid controversy over global access to Covid-19 vaccines, Pope Francis lent his moral authority to the debate and urged drug makers to make their intellectual property available so that other companies can manufacture enough shots for low and middle-income countries. In a video address to the World Meeting of Popular Movements, the Pope made a simple, straightforward plea: “I ask all the great pharmaceutical laboratories to release the patents. Make a gesture of humanity and allow every country, every people, every human being, to have access to the vaccines. There are countries where only 3% or 4% of the inhabitants have been vaccinated.” (Silverman, 10/18)
In other global news about covid —
The New York Times:
Russia's Low Vaccination Rates Leads To Record-Breaking Toll
After Sofia Kravetskaya got vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine last December, she became a pariah on the Moscow playground where she takes her young daughter. “When I mentioned I volunteered in the trials and I got my first shot, people started running away from me,” she said. “They believed that if you were vaccinated, the virus is inside you and you’re contagious.” (Hopkins, 10/18)
Australia Responds To Sen. Ted Cruz's Criticism Of Vaccine Mandate: 'Glad We Are Nothing Like You'
A top Australian official called out U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Twitter over the weekend after the Texas Republican accused the country of “COVID tyranny” as it imposes new vaccine requirements. “I love the Aussies. Their history of rugged independence is legendary; I’ve always said Australia is the Texas of the Pacific,” Cruz tweeted. “The COVID tyranny of their current government is disgraceful & sad.” Australia’s Northern Territory rolled out new vaccine mandates last week, which require workers who interact with the public to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 24 or face a $5,000 fine. Michael Gunner, the chief minister for the region, responded to Cruz in a statement posted last Sunday, saying the Texas Republican knows “nothing about us.” (Wermund, 10/18)
In news about polio —
The Washington Post:
U.N. To Launch A Polio Vaccination Campaign In Afghanistan With Taliban Permission
U.N. agencies will launch a nationwide effort next month to vaccinate children in Afghanistan against polio with the permission of the Taliban, the United Nations announced Monday. The campaign, slated to start Nov. 8., will mark the first polio immunization drive since the Taliban took control of the country in August — and the first in more than three years to reach all children in Afghanistan, according to a news release from UNICEF, the U.N. children’s agency. (Parker, 10/18)