The Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Therapeutics and Vaccines

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Scientists from across the globe are racing to develop effective vaccines and therapeutics for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Plans are beginning to emerge for ensuring the equitable worldwide distribution of vaccines and therapeutics resulting from biomedical innovations. Absent broad agreement and buy-in on those plans, governments may prioritize their own populations, resulting in inequitable distribution of medical products both within and among countries. During the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, wealthy nations bought virtually all vaccine supplies. Even after the WHO appealed for donations, supplies for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were limited. The White House may have already sought exclusive access to a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. European and Asian countries have imposed export controls on personal protective equipment and ventilators, with similar export controls likely to extend to COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic stocks.

The development and widespread distribution of COVID-19 medical treatments are a common global interest. Here we offer a proposal for global cooperation to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines and therapies for COViD-19.

Publication Citation

Journal of the American Medical Association, published online May 7, 2020, at E1-E2.