Thursday, 8 October 2020

Questions (158)

Róisín Shortall


158. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his position on the WHO Covid-19 solidarity call to action, which promotes the notion of technologies to deal with Covid-19 as global public goods and urges countries to realise equitable global access to these technologies through the pooling of knowledge, intellectual property and data; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29391/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Launched in April 2020, the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. The ACT Accelerator brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations.

Ireland is broadly in support of the ACT Accelerator, and shares the objective of equitable, affordable access to technology to address COVID-19.

The ACT-Accelerator is organized into four pillars of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and health systems. Under the vaccine pillar, Ireland has already joined the COVAX facility as part of Team Europe. This is with a view to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

The COVID-19 Technology Access Pool forms another element of the overall ACT Accelerator, and is a voluntary mechanism for sharing health tech related knowledge, intellectual property and data. Consultations are ongoing across the relevant Government Departments and with industry with a view to considering practical engagement. The European Commission, on behalf of Member States, is currently engaging with the WHO to obtain the additional information and clarifications required for industry to engage in the initiative.