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WHO: Global licence deal to provide COVID antibody test tech free to poorer countries

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SWITZERLAND: A global licence for serological technology that detects COVID-19 antibodies will be provided royalty-free to poor and middle-income countries under a first of its kind agreement to boost production, the World Health Organisation said.

The existing four tests, which check for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies developed after either an infection or a vaccine dose, could also inform decisions on the need for boosters to protect against the disease, it said in a statement.

The non-exclusive licensing agreement reached with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), a public research institute offering the technology as a global public good, is the first test licence signed by the WHO’s Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).

“The aim of the licence is to facilitate the rapid manufacture and commercialisation of CSIC’s COVID-19 serological test worldwide,” the WHO said. “The licence will be royalty-free for low- and middle-income countries and will remain valid until the date the last patent expires,” it said.

The tests are simple to use and suitable for even rural settings with a basic laboratory infrastructure, it added.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the deal which he hoped would inspire other developers to share tools against COVID-19.

“This is the kind of open and transparent licence we need to move the needle on access during and after the pandemic,” Tedros said.

“I urge developers of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to follow this example and turn the tide on the pandemic and on the devastating global inequity this pandemic has spotlighted.”


Thursday, November 25, 2021 – 01:00

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