In December 2021, the World Health Assembly established an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement, or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.
A first round of public hearings took place in April 2022. Read DNDi's statement at the first round of public hearings.
For the second round of public hearings, interested parties were invited to submit a statement in response to the following question: 'Based on your experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, what do you believe should be addressed at the international level to better protect against future pandemics?'
COVID-19 is an acute example of the chronic problem that has long plagued the R&D system. As a not-for-profit R&D organization, DNDi focuses these comments on how international agreement can ensure a fundamental shift in approach to avoid having to struggle for access to new health tools disease by disease, product by product, country by country.
To better protect against future pandemics, international agreement must be reached to:
- Ensure R&D priority-setting that includes areas most likely to be neglected by the market and ensure coordination to avoid duplication and fragmentation of research efforts;
- Agree to norms and binding rules to govern the R&D process, which embed the principles of access, affordability and equity into the R&D process itself;
- Promote open innovation, including early discovery of tools with a broad spectrum of activity that can be rapidly moved into clinical trials when a pandemic hits, and open sharing of knowledge, data, and intellectual property;
- Support surveillance, clinical trial, and manufacturing networks and infrastructure, especially in low- and middle-income countries, that can be used during both crisis and inter-crisis times, ensuring sustainability;
- Secure sustainable at-risk public financing of end-to-end R&D in preparation as well as in crisis.
These measures would accelerate the R&D process so the world is better prepared for future and current health threats and ensure the benefits of scientific progress will be more equitably shared, regardless of where they are discovered, developed or produced.