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The 75th United Nations General Assembly Opening Underscores Needs for Multilateral Health Responses

As the United Nations General Assembly opens for the first time in its 75-year history without an on-site gathering of world leaders, the critical need for international collaboration to end the current pandemic and prevent the next one should be clearer and more compelling than ever.  

Open, transparent and timely sharing of scientific information, data and biological samples will be imperative to gaining control over this pandemic through the accelerated development of a vaccine, new treatments and more efficient diagnostic tests. To ensure that advances against COVID-19 are sustained, multilateral efforts to ensure equitable access to new biomedical tools, to strengthen responses and to expand medical capacities in countries with limited health resources, will be crucial.

The stakes could not be higher. Countries that fail to participate in multilateral activities and global initiatives also risk failing to benefit from partnerships, leaving themselves more vulnerable to the continued spread of COVID-19, the further loss of lives and ongoing threats to progress made by other countries.

Even as countries respond to this pandemic, strengthened responses and increased funding for U.S. and multilateral efforts against longstanding pandemics are needed to protect investments and progress against diseases that include HIV, tuberculosis and malaria amid the disruptions of services caused by COVID-19.

The challenges facing the world in 2020 are unprecedented. As the pandemic keeps world leaders apart, the impetus to work together must take center stage at this General Assembly.

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