A World Health Organization-led coalition fighting the Covid-19 pandemic is asking government and private sector donors to help raise $31.3 billion in the next 12 months to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines for the disease.
Renewing its call on Friday for global collaboration against the pandemic, it said $3.4 billion had been contributed for the coalition to date, leaving a funding gap of $27.9 billion. Of that, $13.7 billion was "urgently needed".
The WHO is working with a large coalition of drug-development, funding and distribution organisations under what it calls the ACT-Accelerator Hub.
The initiative is intended to develop and deliver 500 million Covid-19 tests and 245 million courses of new treatment for the disease to low- and middle-income countries by mid-2021, it said in a statement.
It also hoping 2 billion vaccines doses, including 1 billion to be bought by low- and middle-income countries, will be available by the end of 2021.The ACT-Accelerator was launched in April to speed up research and development work on medical tools to tackle Covid-19. On Friday, the WHO said the pandemic was still threatening millions of lives and scores of economies, and urgent work and funds were needed.
"The investment required is significant, but it pales in significance when compared to the cost of Covid-19," it said.
Meanwhile a global fundraising meeting on Saturday raised 6.15 billion euros ($6.9 billion) from the United States, the European Commission and numerous countries to fight COVID-19, with many participants stressing that an eventual vaccine should be available to anyone who needs it.The pledging summit, part of a joint initiative by the EU executive and advocacy group Global Citizen, also included a globally televised and streamed fundraising concert featuring Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Shakira, Chloe X Halle, Usher and others.
The Commission together with the European Investment Bank pledged 4.9 billion euros ($5.50 billion), the United States $545 million, Germany 383 million euros, Canada C$300 million ($219 million)and Qatar $10 million. Forty governments took part in the summit.The money will be used for COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, and also to support the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was crucial that everyone who needed it should have access to a vaccine.
“I am trying to convince high-income countries to reserve vaccines not only for themselves but also for low- and middle income countries. This is a stress test for solidarity,” she said.
British Premier Boris Johnson concurred.
“If and when an effective vaccine is found, then we as world leaders have moral duty to ensure that it is truly available to all,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron was adamant about pooling efforts together.
“Let’s refuse an every man for himself approach, let’s continue to move forward together,” he said.Italy, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, echoed his sentiment.
The EU is championing global cooperation in efforts to control and end the pandemic, in contrast to the United States and China’s focus on national initiatives.