Health Desk- 13 September 2020: WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and President of the European Commission Dr Ursula von der Leyen, co-hosted the inaugural meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Facilitation Council on Thursday.
The ACT-Accelerator is the proven, up-and-running, global collaboration accelerating the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
It was launched on 24 April 2020 by World Health Organization with the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and supported by the UN Secretary-General and multiple Heads of Government.
The role of the Council is to facilitate the work of the ACT-Accelerator through political leadership and advocacy for collective solutions in the global interest, and for the mobilization of additional resources.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his speech said, "Nearly 5 000 lives are lost each day due to COVID-19 and the global economy is expected to contract by trillions of dollars this year. The case for investing to end the pandemic has never been stronger".
Ursula von der Leyen said, “Today’s launch of the Facilitation Council brings us closer to our global goal: access to coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments for everyone who needs them, anywhere.”
António Guterres in his speech said, “We now need US$35 billion more to go from set-up to scale and impact. There is a real urgency in these numbers. Without an infusion of US$15 billion over the next 3 months, beginning immediately, we will lose the window of opportunity”.
The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work which includes diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector.
The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and H.E. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and included a keynote address from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.