BRICS member-states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) intend to establish a joint vaccine research and development center in a virtual format due to the ongoing pandemic of the coronavirus infection, according to the joint statement released following the BRICS health ministers’ meeting organized by India as a country chairing the group of five countries this year.
"We recall the proposal of establishment of a ‘BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre’ as stated in Johannesburg Declaration 2018 and reiterated in Moscow Declaration 2020. Given the non-feasibility of an in-person collaboration in view of the ongoing pandemic scenario and in order to sustain the momentum for collaboration towards research and development of vaccines, we will undertake the launch of ‘BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre’ in a virtual format," according to the statement published on Thursday, TASS reports.
The participants of the meeting noted that they are deeply concerned about the need for fair and equitable access to safe, efficacious, and affordable vaccines for COVID-19 to curtail the pandemic, and they pledge to make concerted efforts to deliver on the BRICS leaders’ commitment to extensive immunization as a global public.
"We understand the need to institute an BRICS Integrated Early Warning System for preventing mass infectious diseases risks," the statement said. "We are interested in a collaboration through institutional multidisciplinary network public council comprising of the leading epidemiologists, infectious diseases specialists, bacteriologists and virologists in BRICS countries to cease threatening high-risk pathogens before progression in to a pandemic," according to the document.
Moreover, the sides recognized the necessity of setting upgraded lab facilities for genome sequencing of the pathogens and an enhanced data sharing mechanism of genome sequencing.
The participants of the meeting also acknowledged "the value and importance of traditional and alternative systems of medicine as means of achieving comprehensive healthcare", and noted "the need of experience and knowledge-sharing for securing public health needs."