Biden's Covid summit aims to bolster pandemic fight

President Biden and other heads of state pledged Thursday to redouble efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and countries like Germ...


President Biden and other heads of state pledged Thursday to redouble efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and countries like Germany and Canada pledged large sums to fund tests, therapies and vaccines — a commitment Mr. Biden has been unable to make because Congress refuses to authorize further emergency aid.

As the United States approached a tragic milestone – one million american lives lost to virus – the fear of another deadly variant weighed heavily on the president Second Covid-19 World Summit, a virtual gathering co-hosted by Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal. Some countries were notably absent. China did not participate. Russia was not invited.

thursday gathering took place in a very different climate from that of the first summit, last September. The war in Ukraine saps energy and money from donor countries. The global vaccination campaign is at a standstill. Tests have plummeted around the world. Covid antiviral pills, available in the United States, are rare in many low- and middle-income countries.

Before the start of the summit, the president ordered flags ldue to staff at half mast at the White House and all federal buildings and military installationss until May 16 in commemoration of the nation’s death toll. Addressing attendees via video, he warned that Covid fatigue is perhaps as big a danger as Covid itself.

“There is still so much to do; this pandemic is not over,” Biden said, adding, “We need to prevent complacency.

The White House asked attendees to come with significant commitments — financial or non-monetary — and senior administration officials said that effort resulted in more than $3 billion in pledges for vaccines, tests and therapeutics. One by one, countries, philanthropists and drugmakers have stepped up.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pledged $1.5 billion, saying his country “wants to lead by example”. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would donate an additional $732 million. South Korea offered $300 million.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative said it has brokered deals with drugmakers to make generic versions of Pfizer’s Covid antiviral, Paxlovid, available for less than $25 a course. Merck, whose Covid antiviral, molnupiravir, has already been distributed in generic form in 15 countries, said it would make 2 million courses of the drug available to low- and middle-income countries at a “best price ever”. ‘access”.

The United States, which has already committed $19 billion to the global response, has not come entirely empty-handed. The administration puts forward a relatively small amount of money at the meeting: $200 million for a World Bank fund to prepare for future pandemics, and $20 million for pilot projects to be brought in coronavirus tests and treatments to poor nations

“We need to break through the complacency about this, to make sure people realize that if we don’t act, another variant is a possibility – and we don’t know how deadly that could be,” Gordon Brown , the former British prime minister who is now the World Health Organization’s ambassador for global health financing, said in an interview this week.

But it is far less than Mr. Biden had hoped. The president has asked Congress for $22.5 billion — including $5 billion to fight the global pandemic — in emergency coronavirus aid, but the proposal is stalled on Capitol Hill, even as Congress rushes to approve $40 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine. Legislators are always hard to understand how to move forward a $10 billion cut coronavirus package. A group of former heads of state, including Mr Brown, the former British Prime Minister, and Nobel laureates, convened this week for Congress to respond to Mr. Biden’s request.

The United States is also making an important non-monetary commitment: the National Institutes of Health has agreed to license their “stabilized advanced protein technology” — a crucial part of vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 — to companies through the Medicines Patent Pool. The organization is a WHO-supported global non-profit organization that strives to bring medicines to low- and middle-income countries at low cost.

The move is important because it could lay the groundwork for other countries and companies to share their technologies, said Peter Maybarduk, who leads the Global Access to Medicines Program for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group.

While the United States has donated hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to poor countries, it has been less aggressive in sharing technology.

“One of the terrible injustices and major obstacles of this pandemic has been the exclusive control of essential medical technology,” Mr Maybarduk said. By working with the Medicines Patent Pool, he said, the Biden administration would “not just be sharing doses, but sharing knowledge, since sharing doses is charity and sharing knowledge is Justice “.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden's Covid summit aims to bolster pandemic fight
Biden's Covid summit aims to bolster pandemic fight
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