June 26, 2020

Action for COVID Tools Accelerator – Digging into the figures and briefing

Today the leaders of the ‘unusual and unprecedented’ partnership that is the Action for COVID Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) laid out their mission, their financial needs and the investment case. Here are some of the key figures from the conference:

  • The overall costings for the ACT-Accelerator are set at $31.3bn for the next 12 months, with $3.4bn already raised leaving a $27.9bn funding gap
  • However, within those costings is an urgent funding need of $13.7bn which the world needs to raise as soon as possible for crucial upstream investments
  • Dr. Soumya Swaminathan who runs the vaccine pillar stated that there are over 200 vaccine candidates in development, 15 of which are already in human trials, and there is a hope to have 2bn vaccines produced by the end of 2021 – fairly and equitably distributed across the world
  • Dr. Mariangela Simao said that the working framework for this global allocation of vaccines will be based entirely on health priorities: reducing mortality, health systems, reducing impact on society – though some other epidemiological factors and other metrics will be included in these workings – those the over 65, living with comorbidities and health care and other frontline workers will be prioritized – which makes up around 20% of the global population

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ended the press conference stating the ACT-Accelarator will bring us a faster end to the pandemic, and this investment of billions now will not only save human lives but also will save us trillions later. “No-one is safe until everyone is safe. The time to act is now, the way to act is together”, she ended.

Questions were put on how the fair allocation framework will be enforced, and on the detail of how affordability and shared information on R&D will be achieved. Dr. Swaminathan talked about there being a “tremendous commitment from all sides” and that “vaccines for COVID-19 as a global public good is embraced by everyone” and they have seen “unprecedented kinds of collaboration that will also set a model for the future”.

The health systems connector pillar does not yet have a costing but will also be crucial in helping us fight COVID-19 and other pandemics in the longer term.

The Pandemic Action Network is working hard to help leverage commitments to make sure the ACT-Accelerator has the funding it needs to secure a vaccine and end this pandemic as soon as possible, and the next step of that comes on Saturday, June 27 with the Global Citizen and European Commission’s Global Goal: Unite for Our Future pledging event and concert which will raise funds to start to fill that emergency funding gap.

We also note the timeframe for a possible vaccine – 2bn doses hoped for by the end of 2021 – which inspires us to continue our work on helping governments and individuals better manage COVID-19 so that we get rid of the disease as quickly as possible. We will be living with the threat of COVID-19 nearby for some time – and #maskingforafriend in public places, forms of social distancing, frequent hand washing and other behaviors will be crucial to our ability to get through the next year with the minimum loss of life.

Today’s briefing shed light on what the ACT-Accelerator is, what it is not, and how, if we all pull together, we might just be able to raise the funds needed to get these urgent tools out the door, and crucially get them to every corner of the world, regardless of personal or national wealth.