World Health Organization needs $38 billion to help developing nations fight Covid-19

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MUMBAI: The ACT Accelerator of the World Health Organization is estimated to require $38 billion to fund Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and health systems of low- and middle-income countries. Fully financing this initiative to help shorten the duration of the crisis, according to the organisation, would pay back this investment in less than 36 hours, once global mobility and trade are restored.

The ACT (Access to Covid-19 Tools) Accelerator is an end-to-end toolbox to fight Covid-19 that has organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, FIND, GAVI Alliance and the WHO as members. The purpose of this group is ensuring that vaccines, treatments, diagnostics and delivery of critical equipment are distributed equitably to low- and middle-income countries. Estimates suggest that the vaccine pillar would need an immediate funding of $7 billion while therapeutics would require $4 billion, diagnostics $2 billion and health systems another $2 billion. These funding are required by the end of 2020. Since March the total pledges made towards the ACT Accelerator by philanthropic groups, developed countries and corporates is of $2 billion, or just 7% of the $38 billion required.

For vaccines, an estimate of $5 billion is needed for the manufacturing and upfront payments for advance purchase agreements (APA). The upfront payment on APAs with manufacturers required is $3.8 billion, to purchase raw materials and build inventory at scale pre-approval, according to the document released this week.

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