WHO Director-General Remarks in support of global pooling of rights in COVID-19 Technologies and data, in open science and open data

On April 6, 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, gave a media briefing on COVID-19 and the WHO’s efforts to combat the pandemic. In his remarks, Dr. Tedros specifically highlighted the proposal by the government of Costa Rica to create a global pooling mechanism for rights to technologies related to COVID-19, heralded the announcement of the Medicines Patent Pool and UNITAID to expand their licensing pool to COVID-19-related technologies, and called for countries, companies and research institutes to “support open data, open science and open collaboration”:

    WHO is committed to ensuring that as medicines and vaccines are developed, they are shared equitably with all countries and people.
    I want to thank the Medicines Patent Pool and UNITAID for the initiative they announced last Friday to include medicines and diagnostics for COVID-19 in their licensing pool.
    I also want to thank the President of Costa Rica, President Carlos Alvarado, and the Health Minister, Daniel Salas, for their proposal to create a pool of rights to tests, medicines and vaccines, with free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms for all countries. Muchas gracias, Mr President.
    I support this proposal, and we are working with Costa Rica to finalize the details.
    Poorer countries and fragile economies stand to face the biggest shock from this pandemic, and leaving anyone unprotected will only prolong the health crisis and harm economies more.
    I call on all countries, companies and research institutions to support open data, open science and open collaboration so that all people can enjoy the benefits of science and research.