Let us make no mistake: our fight against coronavirus is far from over.
Worldwide, trends are worrying. Close to a million lives have been directly lost to the disease and essential health services are disrupted for millions. With jobs at risk, governments have pumped more than $10 trillion into economies to safeguard livelihoods. And people around the world have made personal sacrifices to their daily lives for the greater good.
A global pandemic requires no less than a world effort to end it. None of us will be safe until everyone is safe. Global access to coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments for everyone who needs them, anywhere, is the only way out.
A global pandemic requires a world effort to end it – none of us will be safe until everyone is safe
This is a historical stress test for global cooperation. But we are ready to meet this challenge. This is why we have launched the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator.
This global collaborative framework brings together governments, scientists, businesses, philanthropists and global health organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, WHO and the World Bank.
The ACT-Accelerator drives the research, development and delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines across the world. And it has already achieved impressive results; 1,700 clinical trials, as well as 100 countries surveyed to identify capacity gaps.
It did this in only five months and on a 3 billion US dollars budget. If we manage to reach the ACT-Accelerator’s investment needs, estimated at 38 billion US dollars, just imagine what we could achieve and how fast we could achieve it.
The ACT-Accelerator partners’ calculations show that fully financing the ACT-Accelerator would pay back the investment very quickly, once the crisis is ended and global trade and travel are restored.
Simply put: we will recover much faster from this crisis with investment in the ACT-Accelerator.
It won’t just save lives: it will provide the best stimulus possible as economies will be able reopen together. As with the 2008 financial crisis, economic recovery over the medium and longer-term needs a global approach to restore trade and trust amongst all countries. Equitably sharing a vaccine and other health tools is not charity; it is bulletproof economics.
The ACT-Accelerator reduces costs for governments by providing efficiencies of scale and purchasing power. It also covers the full spectrum of tools needed against the virus – including personal protective equipment and oxygen – and makes sure they are accessible to all countries.
A total of 156 economies, representing nearly two-thirds of the global population, are now committed to or eligible to receive vaccines through COVAX, the vaccine arm of the ACT-Accelerator, which is working to find a safe and effective vaccine whilst protecting health workers and our vulnerable people, including in low and medium countries.
As leaders gather virtually at this United Nations General Assembly, a historic opportunity but also a moral imperative beckons. It is our chance to mobilise global leaders and make them understand how truly vital it is to pool our resources together.
The world already came together under the Coronavirus Global Response. Thanks to an unprecedented effort of global solidarity, we managed to raise significant funding to get the work started. But more is needed. Today we invite leaders to come together and resource the ACT-Accelerator. Let us invest in our best chance at a coronavirus-free future for all.
This article was originally published in the Telegraph.