Fair and equitable access to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines

Policy Briefing

Published 29/05/2020

This rapid policy briefing highlights the key challenges for policy makers, regulatory bodies, industry, and research institutions to ensure fair and equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
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Effects on other areas of research and treatment

Major funders, industry and governments have strategically redirected their priorities to COVID-19 related research, pausing many existing research studies and clinical trials. Clinical scientists have been asked to pause their research activities and return to frontline service. Measures introduced to curtail the spread of COVID-19 have caused some university and research centers to close. These changes will have implications on other areas of health-related research and on patients, especially those who are enrolled on trials. Further ethical issues are arising in the clinical setting related to clinical decision-making and prioritisation of COVID-19 patients over other patients.

It will be important to justify the extent to which the emergency response to COVID-19 should take priority over other areas of health research and services, and to plan for how research activities can continue beyond COVID-19.