The political autoimmunity of the COVID-19 response: how national borders and patents undermine a sustainable and equitable global health

Ben van Enk, Henk van Houtum*, Annelies van Uden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We argue that the COVID-19 pandemic response has been characterised by a Derridean ‘political autoimmunity’, undermining a sustainable and equitable protection of global health.

This self-harming immunisation politics has been driven by a coalesce of national borderism, which excludes people on the basis of national borders, and patentism, which privileges the treatment of wealthy countries and people who can afford the patented medicines and vaccines.

To globally counter these politically autoimmune strategies now and in the future, we argue to remind political leaders and patent holders of today of the classical physician’s Hippocratic oath, and to strive for a truly inclusive, pandemocratic health politics beyond national origin and income.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere012293
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2023

Research programs

  • ESSB PA

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