The COVID-19 pandemic has produced both extraordinary scientific achievements, as well extraordinary inequality in global access to these achievements. That has undermined the global response, increased the risk for the new variants, and cost countless lives. The pandemic instrument can contain three provisions to help catalyze a better response in the future.
First, public funding should come with public obligations. The instrument must require sharing of intellectual property and know-rights rights generated by public R&D. This should also include commitments to reasonable pricing, and commitments to set aside supply for developing countries.
Second, the pandemic instrument must support global distributed manufacturing for medical countermeasures. This should include funding as well as commitments to share medical technology.
Finally, transparency is essential. Pricing, R&D, costs, delivery schedules, contracts of all medical countermeasures should all be publicly available.
One of the great tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the fact that millions of people have died even after the development of safe and effective vaccines due to a lack of access.
We can do better, and the WHO and global community can help us get there.