World Health Organization launches initiative to accelerate vaccines production and allocates $35 million in aid to Idlib, Syria

GENEVA — During a press conference on Friday 24 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched an initiative to accelerate the production of COVID-19 vaccines in partnership with France, Germany, international organizations, and private sector companies, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This represents a historic collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and ensuring the equal distribution of vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatments to combat COVID-19.

French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the prime ministers of Italy and Spain, Pedro Sánchez and Giuseppe Conte, participated in the initiative.

A vaccine is expected to be available on the market within 12 to 18 months.

In related news, the WHO also launched a program aimed at increasing the capacity to respond to the threat of COVID-19 in eight regions in northwestern Syria, supervised by a 15-person task force. It has allocated $ 35 million in assistance to those areas.

Syria’s northwest suffers from a shortage of medical and personal protection equipment.

On Monday, 20 April, a WHO spokesperson said that testing for COVID-19 would soon begin in areas outside Syrian government control in Idlib, fearing that the epidemic would affect camps packed with displaced people.