The coronovirus crisis requres business and scientific ethical behaviour, similar to the one shown in the case of fight against poliomyelitis after World War Two
This petition for universal and free Covid-19 vaccine is promoted in Argentina by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and CODESEDH (The Committee on the Defense of Health, Ethics and Human Rights). It can be signed here.
The undersigned, citizens deeply moved by the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic and committed/as committed to the right to health of our peoples, we unite our voices in defence of life and of universal and free access to vaccines and treatments that are in advanced state of scientific approval.
Aware that the expectations of a large part of humanity, and particularly of our Latin American region, recognized by the WHO as the epicentre of the pandemic, cannot be subjected to the mandates of the industrial, pharmaceutical – financial and medical complex, especially to the dictation of patents that hinder the universal and free access of the scientifically validated vaccines, Latin American Council of Social Sciences.
Convinced that in the face of the pandemic the ethical sense of solidarity should prevail over economic speculation. Solidarity in these circumstances must have greater emphasis on bringing “…responsibility to the other who is in a situation of need, with recognition of their dignity…” (Pontifical Academy for Life, 2020).
Coinciding with the approach of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in its pronouncement of April 10, 2020, we do not hesitate to place the COVID-19 vaccine within the framework of international human rights law, noting the need for States to “…take immediately, urgently, and with due diligence, all appropriate measures to protect the rights to life, health and personal integrity…”. From this vision different experts of ethics and medicine in Argentina, expressed that the vaccine should not have a marketing patent to facilitate in our country and other countries of the region and the world, its preparation, universal and free distribution according to your needs and possibilities from the transfer technology. Also, experts noted that brokering of commercial interests, such as a patent, should not be accepted. Finally, they indicated that the vaccine should be considered a human heritage within a more equal and supportive world.
We propose that: “…another world is possible, it is the challenge in the face of the serious situation that humanity is living and it is to save lives and the right to equality of all and all…” (World Social Forum (WSF); research costs, manufacture and application of vaccines are financed with the economic cost of a next-generation fighter jet, a nuclear bomb or an intercontinental missile, all instruments for death; (“…when those weapons are to be transformed into ploughshares…” (Isaiah 2:4)); a call to the minds and hearts of the leaders and those responsible for the world situation suffered by the peoples with the COVID-19 pandemic and to humanitarian values bearing in mind that price and value are not the same. We are united in the struggle for the values that dignify humanity for a fraternal world for all humankind.
Let us remember that after the Second World War societies lived with two great fears: the possibility of a nuclear war and Poliomyelitis. The latter caused panic in every summer and in different corners of the world threatening the lives of millions of children, because it had no cure. Its usual victims were between 4 and 16 years old, in addition, Poliomyelitis had a high contagion power, had a high mortality rate and those who survived had to assume severe disabilities. The lack of scientific response aggravated the pandemic. On April 12, 1955, humanity received the best news from Rd. Jonas Salk, the preliminary studies were concluded, giving approval and declared effective and safe to the vaccine. It was then the greatest medical discovery in history. Dr. Jonas Salk refused to patent the vaccine of his discovery and in a public communication expressed: “… I want to tell people that there is no patent. Can you patent the sun?” Similarly, years later, Dr. Albert Sabin developed an oral vaccine became widely used in 1957. The researcher, a microbiologist, of Polish origin, resigned his patent rights in order to facilitate the worldwide dissemination of his discovery as soon as possible. The behaviour of both scientists marks an ethical milestone in the history of modern medicine, and it allowed the eradication of this disease worldwide.
We request that measures be taken at the national, regional and international levels to guarantee universal and free access, with technology transfer, protecting the human right and social good that constitutes the next vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus. It is the step that humanity expects from its leaders and rulers.