Intersectional discrimination against people on the move underpins inadequate responses to COVID-19. The right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications clearly demands substantive racial equality when designing economic and public health measures to address the pandemic.
Research in genetics and medicine must seek to offer relief from suffering and improve the health of individuals and humankind as a whole. The COVID-19 pandemic is a severe test at the local, national and international level in terms of the interaction between genetics science, social preparedness and human rights, in particular the rights to health and non-discrimination.
COVID-19 has shown that strengthening innovation and production capacities in the pharmaceutical and medical supply and device industries is essential to pandemic preparedness. In Latin America, universities are playing a key role when facing this ongoing challenge in a context of regional economic hardship.
Science and human rights are intrinsically connected yet this link has not been fully integrated into COVID-19 responses. Translating normative consensus into practice will require targeted advocacy, appropriate operational guidance and strengthened UN coordination, notably in implementing science-related SDGs.
There has been normative clarification of the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications. However certain aspects of the right remain poorly defined and present challenges, notably in relation to the corporate, profit-driven orientation of contemporary scientific innovation.
The authoritative interpretation of the right to science coincided with the global descent into a pandemic. From the social fissures and injustices laid bare by the pandemic arises an opportunity to use the right to science to respond and rebuild.