Only by tackling the COVID-19 pandemic itself, globally, and at the same time will lives and livelihoods be restored. Unless it is defeated everywhere, COVID-19 can still strike anywhere.
The Global Fund is a founding partner of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), the world's largest coalition of organizations and governments to accelerate development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tools.
The Global Fund is a co-convener of both the Diagnostics and Health Systems Connector. We are also leading work on procurement and deployment in Therapeutics.
The ACT-Accelerator has ambitious targets: to provide 2 billion vaccine doses to the world by the end of 2021, 245 million courses of treatment and 500 million diagnostic tests to low- and middle-income countries in 2021. It is the only “end-to-end” global solution that aims for equitable access that builds on the public health expertise and robust risk mitigation for the investments made of the collaboration’s partners.
The ACT-Accelerator has already procured more than 40 million tests, distributed 150 million courses of lifesaving dexamethasone treatment and delivered the equivalent of 73 million daily PPE kits to front-line health workers. So far 189 countries have signed on to the COVAX facility to distribute vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. New tools are being rapidly developed.
ACT-Accelerator’s overall target budget of US$38 billion represents less than 1% of total stimulus packages committed by advanced economies to date, corresponding to about 10% of what the global economy is losing every month in 2020. It is equivalent to a one-week loss of travel and tourism alone for G20 countries.
ACT-Accelerator needs an urgent step change in investment and advocacy to deliver on its promise. The Global Fund is committed to joining forces with ACT-Accelerator partners to mobilize the needed funds for the global COVID-19 response and to play our part by deploying safe and effective diagnostics and therapeutics and leaving no one behind.
The Diagnostics pillar of the ACT-Accelerator is focused on ensuring that everyone who needs a test can get one. Innovation and scale-up of high-performing, rapid and affordable tests must be accelerated for deployment in all countries. For low- and middle-income countries, this investment would contribute to saving 9 million lives, and strengthen health systems to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
With WHO leading on product allocation, the Global Fund is working with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and other partners, including the research industry, private sector, foundations, government donors, civil society, regulators and international organizations to support the procurement and deployment of diagnostic tests in low- and middle-income countries unable to shoulder such costs on their own and strengthen health systems and build country capacity and preparedness for rapid and effective test implementation.
In September 2020, ACT-A announced a ground-breaking agreement that will provide access to 120 million rapid tests for COVID-19 to low-and middle-income countries. Working together means we can deliver a comprehensive package: R&D, volume guarantees for LMICs, policy guidance, regulatory review, initial funding, and support to countries for roll-out of the new tools. The Global Fund has committed an initial US$50 million to enable countries to purchase at least 10 million of the new tests, but more funding is urgently needed to meet the unmet demand.
There is an urgent need to develop effective therapeutics for COVID-19. Therapeutics are essential to reduce morbidity and mortality from the pandemic and mitigate the long-term damage to people’s health.
The Therapeutics pillar is co-convened by the Wellcome Trust, on behalf of the Therapeutics Accelerator, and Unitaid. Within the pillar, the Global Fund leads the workstream on adequate procurement and deployment in all countries.
Additional tools like personal protective equipment and oxygen are critical in the COVID-19 response. The Health Systems Connector works to ensure these tools can reach the people who need them. The Global Fund is co-convener of the Health Systems Connector with the World Bank.