ICYMI: G20 and World Health Assembly leaders support efforts to defeat COVID-19
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact on the health of communities and global economies, government leaders at the G20 and World Health Assembly discussed various approaches to controlling the spread of COVID-19 through science-based solutions. Both meetings encouraged efforts to increase global cooperation and foster an innovation ecosystem that allows for the ongoing research and development of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
The 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA73) resumed session, which was held virtually in November, focused on the importance of global support and collaboration, and facilitated discussions to chart an effective strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. At a first slimmed-down session in May, member states adopted a landmark resolution, co-sponsored by more than 130 countries, to unite the world and intensify efforts to ensure equitable and fair distribution of all essential health technologies and products to defeat the virus.
During WHA73, the discussion expanded to cover pressing public health issues not related to the pandemic. This included a 10-year plan to address neglected tropical diseases, efforts to combat meningitis, various neurological disorders and maternal, infant and young child nutrition. Leaders also addressed digital health and its application to public health emergencies, as well as the intellectual property protections that incentivize urgently needed investment in biomedical R&D.
Although some countries and cities throughout MENA are already working to curtail COVID-19 transmission through comprehensive, evidence-based approaches, there is more work to be done. Coupling ongoing global and regional collaboration with strong intellectual property protections will ensure continued biopharmaceutical innovation and accelerate the development of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.