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World Health Organization Provides Detailed Update On ACT-Accelerator
“Two months ago, I joined President Emmanuel Macron, President Ursula von der Leyen and Melinda Gates to launch the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) – a global initiative between multiple partners to ensure equitable access to life-saving tools for COVID-19,” said World Health Organization Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during his opening remarks during a June 26th press conference. He would go on to say:
Ahead of a major pledging event tomorrow led by the European Commission and Global Citizen in support of the ACT-Accelerator, I’m delighted to be here today to announce further details about how the ACT Accelerator is working, and how we are ensuring that together, we live up to the commitments we have made.
The principle of equitable access is a simple thing to say, but a complicated thing to implement – it requires active collaboration between governments, industry, health organizations, civil society organizations, and communities.
A WHO press release also made public on Friday details the ACT-Accelerator project, “Launched at the end of April 2020, at an event co-hosted by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, the President of France, the President of the European Commission, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the ACT-Accelerator brings together governments, health organizations, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists who have joined forces to speed up an end to the pandemic.”
The ambitious logistical project plans to allocate “500 million diagnostic tests to LMIC’s by mid-2021, 245 million courses of treatments to Lower Middle Income Countries (LMICs) by mid-2021, and 2 billion vaccine doses, of which 50% will go to LMICs by the end of 2021.”
However, WHO is far from reaching their fundraising goals to fully implement the project.
The costed plans presented today call for US $31.3 billion in funding for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, of which US$3.4 billion has so far been pledged. An additional US$27.9 billion is therefore needed, including US$13.7 billion to cover immediate needs (i.e. US$17.1 billion is immediately required, of which US$3.4 billion has been pledged).
The ACT-Accelerator operates under the following four pillars:
- Diagnostics pillar (co-led by The Foundation For Innovative New Diagnostics [FIND] & Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM))
- Therapeutics pillar (led by Unitaid and the Wellcome Trust)
- Vaccine pillar (led by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations [CEPI] & Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance [GAVI])
- Health systems connector (led by World Bank and GFATM)
The combined goals of the pillars involve saving nine million lives (while avoiding 1.6 billion further infections), to accelerate and equitable delivery of treatments so 245 million courses of treatment can be distributed in LMICs within 12 months, to ensure vaccines are developed rapidly as possible, and to build laboratory capacity and training to effectively deploy new tools to fight COVID-19 when ready.
“Since its launch, many governments and companies have signaled commitment to the ACT-Accelerator and made financial pledges. To date, contributing countries have committed a total US $3.4. The funding gap is US$ 27.9 billion,” the press release ends.
While the program is targeted towards LMICs, the United States is currently undergoing a surge in COVID-19 cases in 20 states. Florida saw more than 8,900 new cases on Friday morning, leading for calls to rollback re-opening plans. The United States saw 37,601 new cases on Friday total, which was only behind the 41,725 found in Brazil for tops in the western hemisphere.