About 140 past and present world leaders have urged that any eventual COVID-19 vaccines and treatments should be made available to the world free of charge.

President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, Nigeria former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom were among more than 140 signatories of the open letter.

The world leaders in the open letter demand that all vaccines, treatments and tests be patent-free, mass-produced, distributed fairly and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge.

“Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge,” the letter said.

“The same applies for all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19.”

There are more than one hundred vaccines in preclinical development by pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, government agencies, and others.

More than seventy of these are being tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO)

Eight vaccine candidates, across four countries, are already undergoing clinical trials.

The letter came after a pharmaceutical company in France said it would reserve first shipments of any COVID-19 vaccine for the United States.

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