Countries fail to reach agreement on treaty to prepare world for next pandemic

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Low-income nations, including those in Africa, want to be rewarded for information with rapid and equitable access to developed tests, vaccines and treatments. They also asked pharmaceutical manufacturers to share information that would enable local companies to produce the products at low cost.

“We don’t want to see Western countries coming and harvesting pathogens, working with pathogens, producing medicines, producing vaccines, without returning these benefits to us,” Dr. Kaseya said.

Member countries have only ever agreed on one other health treaty, the 2003 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which strengthened control of the tobacco industry and reduced smoking rates in participating countries. But they have been shaken by the devastation of the Covid pandemic and the inequalities it has entrenched to embark on a second.

Countries are also working to strengthen the WHO’s International Health Regulations, which were last revised in 2005 and set out detailed rules that countries must follow in the event of an epidemic that could cross borders.

In May 2021, an independent review of the global response to Covid-19 “found weak links at every point in the preparedness and response chain”.

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