By SAT News Desk
GENEVA/MELBOURNE, 20 Feb. 2021: In a massive boost towards global equitable access to tests, treatments, and vaccines in 2021, the US, Germany, the European Commission, Japan, and Canada have pledged over US$ 4.3 billion of new investments at the G-7 summit. These commitments bring the amount committed to a date to US$ 10.3 billion, leaving a funding gap of US$ 22.9 billion to fully fund the ACT Accelerator’s work in 2021.
Leaders recognized that no country can be safe until every country is safe and collectively committed over the US $4.3 billion to the ACT Accelerator partnership to develop and distribute effective tests, treatments, and vaccines around the world.
The US committed an initial $2 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, and a further $2 billion through 2021 and 2022, of which the first $500 million will be made available when existing donor pledges are fulfilled and initial doses are delivered to AMC countries.
· Germany committed US$ 1.8 billion[i] with contributions to all pillars and partners of the ACT Accelerator across tests, treatments, vaccines, and health systems strengthening.
· The European Commission committed US$ 363 million[ii] for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment.
· Japan committed US$ 79 million for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment and UNITAID.
· Canada committed US$ 59 million to the ACT Accelerator.[iii]
In addition, the European Investment Bank is providing a further US$ 242 million[iv] in loan guarantees which will help the ACT Accelerator partnership to frontload future payments to speed up the response.
The UK’s commitment to join Canada, France, Norway, and the European Union in sharing its additional vaccine doses with developing countries is a vital step to increase the volume of vaccines available worldwide and support the rapid reduction of virus transmission amongst some of the world’s most vulnerable and exposed populations.
The ACT Accelerator’s initial needs for 2020-2021 were US $38.1 billion. Prior to today, an unprecedented mobilization of sovereign donors, private sectors, philanthropic and multilateral contributors had already committed the US $ 6 billion. Considering those pledges, and costs adjustments, today’s new contributions bring the total committed to the ACT Accelerator partnership to US$ 10.3 billion and reduce the funding gap to US$ 22.9 billion.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said: “I thank the US, Germany, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, Japan, and Canada for their significant funding commitments. Today’s news shows us solidarity prevails; we can turn a corner on this pandemic by funding the only global solution to end it. History will judge us collectively and I welcome the words of support from today’s G7 Leaders and the Munich Security Council for again highlighting to the world that we have to solve this together.”
The next few weeks will be critical for the global COVID-19 response. Further commitments are needed to fully fund the work of the ACT Accelerator and enable the delivery of more than 2 billion doses of vaccine; medical oxygen and millions of treatment doses including dexamethasone and new products, as and when they become available; and over 900 million diagnostic tests including high-quality, lower-cost molecular tests, antigen detection RDTs (Ag-RDTs) and self-tests. This work will also support the urgent need for rapid R&D, product evaluation, and regulatory pathways for new and modified tests, treatments, and vaccines to meet the needs of global response programs and the threat of new and emerging variants.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT Accelerator is the proven, up-and-running global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.