Many will die if COVID-19 vaccine is not declared ‘global common good’: Muhammad Yunus

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October 08, 2020 9:05 PM

He also said the vaccine should not be patented by anyone as it will be difficult for other pharmaceutical companies to produce it for not having license.

After vaccines hit the market, people will still need to be careful in the same manner they are right now.

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus on Thursday warned that many lives will be lost due to COVID-19 if the coronavirus vaccine is not declared a ‘global common good’.

He also said the vaccine should not be patented by anyone as it will be difficult for other pharmaceutical companies to produce it for not having license.

“Many rich countries are paying huge amounts to those pharmaceutical companies which are in the process of producing the vaccines to get hold of the latter,” Yunus said during a webinar organised by St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, and the Yunus Centre, Bangladesh,

Such companies are happy to make huge profits and have no concern about the countries that are not rich, he said.

“This will result in many people losing their lives due to non-availability of the vaccine in the poor countries,” the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient said.

Yunus said the polio vaccine was also declared a ‘common good’, which led to its eradication from the world.

The other danger is that if the vaccine is not declared a ‘common good’, many pharmaceutical companies will manufacture fake vaccines for making profits, he said.

Yunus, also the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, said the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of “our entire system” and presented an opportunity to start afresh.

“COVID has given us a path to choose and follow alternative economic models other than the ones which have been followed so far,” he said.

The Grameen Bank, he said, was set up as an alternative to the traditional banking system that only catered to the rich and ignored the poor.

“We created a banking system based on trust and not collaterals,” the Nobel laureate said.

Yunus added that other threats looming large before mankind are global warming and artificial intelligence.

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