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Worldwide Mobilization Needed To Produce Anti-Virus Materials and Equipment

Feb. 7, 2020 (EIRNS)—World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned today that the world faces “a chronic shortage” of the personal anti-viral protective equipment needed in an epidemic, such as masks and gloves. With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), “we’re sending testing kits, masks, gloves, respirators and gowns to countries in every region,” but demand from all sides has created “a severe disruption in the market for personal protective equipment,” he said during today’s daily WHO briefing. Demand for these items is 200 times higher than normal, and prices have gone up by 20 times. Global stocks of masks and respirators, in particular, are insufficient to meet the needs of the WHO and its partners, he said, and the world faces a backlog of four to six months to secure them.

Dr. Tedros reported that he has spoken with the Pandemic Supply Chain Network to see how bottlenecks can be resolved fairly—that is, so that poor, vulnerable countries are adequately supplied—and he appealed for nations and people to limit use of now-scarce surgical masks to areas facing the infection, and that other areas not stockpile them.

Dr. Tedros’ appeal points to the urgency of convening a summit of the great power leaders, which on Jan. 6 Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and then on Jan. 15 Russian President Vladimir Putin, proposed in order to discuss how to secure a safe future for humanity. Rather than mobilizing to allocate scarce resources fairly, it is time to put the right to life of human beings first by mobilizing to gear up production internationally, immediately, of whatever basic materials are needed. The only way physical economy and basic science will be given precedence over speculators is in the framework of an agreement among such powers for a new international credit system.

Under those conditions, such efforts as the scientific forum the WHO is convening in Geneva for Feb. 11-12, to identify international research priorities, can really take off.

“Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control,” WHO’s Dr. Tedros said in announcing the forum. “There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible.” Leading scientists, public health agencies, ministries of health, private and public agencies working on the coronavirus in areas ranging from animal and human health to the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics are invited. The forum is being organized in collaboration with the France-based Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness.

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