- The ACT Accelerator partnership welcomes over US$ 4.3 billion of new investments from the USA, Germany, the European Commission, Japan, and Canada to fund the development and equitable rollout of the tests, treatments and vaccines needed to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Today’s commitments bring the amount committed to 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.
- The UK’s commitment to share vaccine surplus with developing countries is also welcomed and joins similar commitments made by Canada, France, Norway and the European Union.
- Global Health leaders reiterated, however, that without further significant financial commitments, access to COVID-19 tools would be delayed, risking further mutations and prolonging the pandemic everywhere.
Commitments made at today’s Virtual G7 leaders meeting (19 February 2021) hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and at the Munich Security Conference later in the day, signaled significant progress in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic with an important underscoring of the need for global equity in access to test, treatments, and vaccines.
Leaders recognised that no country can be safe until every country is safe and collectively committed over US $4.3 billion to the ACT Accelerator partnership to develop and distribute effective tests, treatments, and vaccines around the world.
Contributions were made up as follows:
- The USA committed 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 volume of vaccines available worldwide and support rapid reduction of virus transmission amongst some of the world’s most vulnerable and exposed populations.
The ACT Accelerator 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 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.
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 programmes and the threat of new and emerging variants.
Global health leaders responded to today’s announcements:
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.”
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said: “This support for the Gavi COVAX AMC shows great commitment to equitable, global access to COVID-19 vaccines and is a major boost to our efforts to end the acute phase of the pandemic. We thank G7 countries, and particularly Germany and the United States, as well as the EU, for this strong leadership in the fields of global health and global health security.”
Dr Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND, said: “Today’s new commitment is gladly welcomed. Over a year into the pandemic, inequality in testing remains across the globe, meaning that many countries are still flying blind in their pandemic response even as new variants emerge. For every test conducted in Africa, Europe is conducting 33. The pandemic will not be defeated until every country can access the tests, treatments and vaccines it needs to keep everyone safe.”
Peter Sands, Executive Director of Global Fund, said: “The Global Fund welcomes these significant contributions to the ACT-Accelerator. As the virus evolves, it is important to ensure equitable access to tests, treatments, vaccines and PPE to defeat COVID-19 and save lives. Galvanizing a bolder, faster and more unified response should be a top priority for everyone. The longer COVID-19 is left unchecked in some parts of the world, the more the risk of new variants and the greater the knock-on impact on economies and other deadly diseases. We must act together now.”
Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, said: “Unitaid welcomes such strong commitment to the vital work of the ACT-Accelerator. Treatments for COVID-19 are needed to save lives and provide a second line of defense against a mutating virus. This investment will aid our work to ensure promising treatments reach people everywhere.”
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said: “We are entering a new and more complex phase of the pandemic. The emergence of novel variants that threaten to impact the safe and effective vaccines we have developed means that now, more than ever, we are in a race against this virus. It is paramount that we take this opportunity to not only push forward with our plan to end the acute phase of this devastating crisis, but also continue to focus on ensuring we invest in R&D, work for globally fair distribution, and build on our scientific achievements to meet the continued challenge of this pandemic. We welcome the G7’s leadership and focus on advancing COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment, in addition to their commitments to increase manufacturing capacity and share genomic sequencing information so that we can accelerate our work and continue to provide the tools the world so urgently needs. There is a moment of opportunity that we must now seize to collaborate in our efforts to stop the devastation of this pandemic.
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.
The ACT Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organization but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organizations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organizations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it.
The ACT Accelerator comprises four pillars: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and health system strengthening.
- The diagnostics pillar co-convened by the Global Fund and FIND is focused on bringing to market 2–3 high-quality rapid tests, training 10,000 healthcare professionals across 50 countries and establishing testing for 500 million people in Low and Middle-Income countries by mid-2021.
- The therapeutics pillar is co-convened by Unitaid and Wellcome. Therapeutics can play a role in all stages of COVID-19 disease: to prevent infection; suppress symptoms and spread of infection to others; treat or prevent symptoms; as a life-saving treatment for severe symptoms; and as a treatment that can speed up recovery. The aim in the next 12 months is to develop, manufacture and distribute millions of treatment doses, helping COVID-19 sufferers to recover from the disease.
- The vaccines pillar, co-convened by CEPI, Gavi and WHO, is speeding up the search for an effective vaccine for all countries. At the same time, it is supporting the building of manufacturing capabilities, and buying supply, ahead of time so that 2 billion doses can be fairly distributed by the end of 2021.
- The health systems connector pillar, led by the World Bank, the Global Fund and the World Health Organization, is working to ensure that these tools can reach the people who need them.
- Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation, hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Since April 2020, the ACT Accelerator has supported the fastest, most coordinated, and successful global effort in history to develop tools to fight a disease. With significant advances in research and development by academia, private sector, multilateral organizations and government initiatives, the ACT Accelerator has advanced our understanding of what works to fight the disease. It has transformed our ability to tackle COVID-19 on a global scale: vaccines are poised to roll-out worldwide, low-cost high-performing antigen rapid diagnostic tests can now detect transmission anywhere, affordable therapy for severe disease can save lives in any setting, and health systems are being prepared for the roll out of tools.
Find out more: https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator
[i] €1.5 billion
[ii] €300 million
[iii] Canadian $75 million
[iv] €200 million