Vaccine manufacturers and national regulatory authorities from South-East Asia Region pledged on Wednesday to accelerate work on tests, drugs and vaccines against COVID-19 and to share it among the member countries.
At the virtual meeting organized by the World Health Organisation, leading manufacturers from India, Indonesia and Thailand discussed timelines and production capacity, while regulatory bodies deliberated on adjustments that would be needed in processes to make COVID-19 vaccines available at the earliest.
The launch of the initiative comes in the wake of a UN General Assembly resolution through which Member States called for all countries to have “equitable, efficient and timely” access to any future vaccines developed to fight COVID-19.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, said, “We are working to ensure that, once developed, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are available to all of humanity. To do that, we are coordinating expert consultations, developing target product profiles and supporting clinical trials.”
“We must build on our success and redouble our efforts to ensure all people in the Region can access the life-saving benefits vaccines bring. I am certain that through collaboration and innovation we can produce a vaccine faster than ever before, while maintaining all standards,” Dr Singh said.