Health Care

China joins COVAX, UN-backed global COVID-19 vaccine facility

China joins COVAX, UN-backed global COVID-19 vaccine facility”

China has signed an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to officially join the global vaccine facility known as COVAX led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Friday.

"We are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX".

It is not yet clear the exact terms of the agreement and how China will contribute.

The government has said it may have a coronavirus vaccine available as early as next month and Hua said developing countries would be given priority. It is among the drugs being used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump, who tested positive for coronavirus last week.

China is the biggest economy to back the initiative so far. But neither the United States nor Russian Federation have joined the programme. A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that negative views of China have risen sharply in 2020 in some countries.

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She gave no details on how much money China would commit to the deal, which has a fundraising goal of $2 billion and aims to provide 92 low and middle-income countries with a future vaccine.

What remains to be seen is how China will engage with the alliance, said Dr. Gagandeep Kang, the vice chair of the Board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI.

AstraZeneca could start profiting from its COVID-19 vaccine as soon as July next year, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing a memo showing the British drugmaker can declare when it considers the pandemic to have ended.

"From the outset, AstraZeneca's approach has been to treat the development of the vaccine as a response to a global public health emergency, not a commercial opportunity", the drugmaker said in a statement on Thursday.

The World Health Organization-led COVAX has the goal to deliver nearly two billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021, Reuters noted.

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