This Frenchman, a long-time specialist in AIDS, is on the list of ten experts responsible for evaluating the management of the pandemic by countries and the WHO.

He is a long-time specialist in AIDS . Frenchman Michel Kazatchkine is on the list unveiled this Thursday of the ten experts responsible for evaluating the management of the Covid-19 pandemic by countries and the WHO , strongly criticized for its response to the crisis. 

In an exceptionally public speech to member states at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, the Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced in early July the creation of an independent committee chaired by the former First New Zealand Minister Helen Clark and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Since then, the two co-chairs have reviewed the nominations of more than 120 experts from around the world, and eleven have been selected. 

Michel Kazatchkine currently teaches at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, where the WHO is based . He is also a special adviser to the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He headed the French National Agency for AIDS Research (1998-2005), and in 2005 was appointed Ambassador in charge of the fight against HIV / AIDS and communicable diseases. In this function (2005-2007), he participated in the creation of UNITAID, before being appointed Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS , Tuberculosis and Malaria from 2007 to 2012. 

A vaccine available within two years, he predicted last April

In an interview with France Culture , last April he recalled that the WHO recommends “testing, testing, testing, isolating positive cases, finding contacts of positive cases and confining them, rather than confining everyone”. Recommendations which “were not really followed” because several countries, such as “Italy, France, Spain or Switzerland to a lesser extent, did not have sufficient access to tests”.  

Michel Kazatchkine also noted “bad strategic decisions”. If “some Asian countries, but also Canada and Germany have had much more proactive and active policies by testing and isolating as many people as possible”, he declared, in France, on the other hand, “this choice does not ‘was not done immediately “. “Then we were overwhelmed by the situation and there was no other possibility than strict confinement (…) It is a strategy which is there especially to limit the damage”, he estimated. In an interview with Europe 1, last April, this specialist said he believed in a vaccine available within 18 months to two years. “This is the time necessary to perfect a product, to develop it and to carry out the tests which will make it possible to prove its effectiveness, so here is roughly the delay”, explained the clinical immunologist.  

In addition to Michel Kazatchkine, the former president of the NGO Médecins sans frontières, Joanne Liu, who was very critical of the WHO during the terrible Ebola epidemic in West Africa, were selected. former British foreign minister David Miliband and ex-Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo. Since the start of the health crisis, the WHO has been strongly criticized in its response, in particular for its recommendations deemed late or contradictory on the wearing of the mask or the modes of transmission of the virus. 

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