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ICYMI: Regional leaders commit to fostering an innovation ecosystem throughout Southeast Asia

Regional leaders recently convened for two critical meetings – the 27th annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and the ASEAN Health Summit – to discuss various economic challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the health of patients throughout Southeast Asia. Both meetings encouraged support for ongoing collaboration between governments and efforts to foster a robust innovation ecosystem, so scientists can continue to research and develop life-saving treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 and other critical health issues.

The 27th annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting concluded with the issuance of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, which recognizes the unprecedented circumstances around COVID-19 and commits to safeguarding the health of patients throughout the region. APEC leaders pledged to work together to combat and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, drive innovative and inclusive sustainability and strengthen stakeholder engagement. Following is an excerpt from the Declaration:

“We recognize that science, technology and innovation are important to the region’s post-COVID-19 recovery. We reaffirm the need to cooperate constructively on COVID-19 including the research and development, production, manufacturing and distribution of diagnostic tests, essential medical products and services, therapeutics and vaccines. We highlight the importance of facilitating equitable access to safe, quality, effective and affordable vaccines and other medical countermeasures that are vital to safeguard people’s health and well-being, while incentivizing innovation. We acknowledge that the role of extensive immunization against COVID-19 is critical in order to bring the pandemic to an end.”

As we continue to employ resilience in overcoming the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative for policymakers to also protect the intellectual property of new discoveries so patients may reap the benefits of these new and innovative discoveries.

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