Vaccine organizations call for improved global coordination
By Wu Guoxiu
Two non-governmental vaccine organizations are calling for improved global coordination to develop vaccines for COVID-19. On Wednesday, CGTN spoke with the heads of the organizations, one that works to develop vaccines and another that promotes immunization in poor countries.
China's int'l cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine development
"With respect to the Chinese efforts at vaccine development, we issued a 12-day-call for proposals on February 3. We received 48 applications globally, six or seven of these applications were from Chinese companies. So, we did have a chance at the point to review at least, part of the vaccines that we now know are being developed in China," said Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations or CEPI.
"Ultimately, we intend to work with two partnerships. We've announced a partnership with Hong Kong University, a very innovative approach. I'm looking forward to working with them on their vaccine. And we have another partner that will be announced shortly. GSK, a multi-national vaccine developer, has announced partnership with Clover biopharmaceutical to build on their protein base vaccine," he introduced.
Dr. Hatchett says he's very pleased with the interest of Chinese partners looking abroad for collaboration. "I've had some private discussions about helping these partners find locations where these vaccines can be tested, given that the disease is not really present in China right now, and we look forward to collaborating with these companies to see these vaccines tested", he added.
China's work on epidemic control
Dr. Seth Berkeley, CEO of Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunization (GAVI), hailed China's work on controlling the epidemic. "China has done a remarkable job on COVID-19 control. From my perspective, it's extraordinary to see a country get hit by a severe epidemic and to respond quickly. Understanding in the first few weeks is always very hard. But China tried to slow this disease down, not just for China but for the world by giving everybody time to become engaged. I share President Xi's recognition of preparedness including importance of vaccine stockpiles, and obviously want to see increased cooperation globally," he said.
Berkley said GAVI wants to "make sure that those vaccines move forward, and they get prepared to be the best vaccines, because we need the best product. This is not about the best product in China, the best product in the U.S., in Europe, we need the best products around world," he emphasized.
Berkeley also emphasized the need for global cooperation. "The reason that a institution like GAVI exist, and frankly why CEPI exist, is to try and to help the global system to deal with problems. It is of course understanding that at times of global crisis, national leaders tend to focus on the needs of their population, to worry about national issues. But if science is global, manufacturing is global, the ability to deal with epidemic needs to be global, what we need is unprecedented collaboration across all countries. That is how we solve this problem the fastest, and not only get out of this particular problem, which is a global problem, but also be prepared for the next one", he said.