Heads of State and global health leaders recently made an unprecedented commitment to unite and expedite the development of vaccines, tests, and treatment for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) which has ravaged countries and afflicted millions worldwide. The disease has also forced the masses into their homes, crippling income as well as the economy.
“We will only halt COVID-19 through solidarity. Countries, health partners, manufacturers, and the private sector must act together and ensure that the fruits of science and research can benefit everybody,” states Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization.
Moreover, global leaders come together in a virtual event, co-hosted by the World Health Organization, the President of France, the President of the European Commission, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The event was joined by the UN Secretary-General, the AU Commission Chairperson, the G20 President, heads of state of France, South Africa, Germany, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Italy, Rwanda, Norway, Spain, Malaysia and the United Kingdom (represented by the First Secretary of State).
Health leaders from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), GAVI-the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund, UNITAID, the Wellcome Trust, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRC), the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA), the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers’ Network (DCVMN), and the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA) committed to come together, guided by a common vision of a planet protected from human suffering and the devastating social and economic consequences of COVID-19, to launch this groundbreaking collaboration. They are joined by two Special Envoys: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Gavi Board Chair, and Sir Andrew Witty, former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline.
The parties pledged to work towards equitable global access based on an unprecedented level of partnership – to be a strong unified voice, to build on past experiences, and to be accountable to the world.
“Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the tools to prevent, detect, treat and defeat COVID-19. No country and no organization can do this alone. The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator brings together the combined power of several organizations to work with speed and scale,” states the WHO Director-General.
Health leaders called on the global community and political leaders to support this landmark collaboration and for donors to provide the necessary resources to accelerate the achievement of its objectives, capitalizing on the opportunity provided by a forthcoming pledging initiative that starts on 4 May 2020. This initiative, spearheaded by the European Union, aims to mobilize the significant resources needed to accelerate the work towards protecting the world from COVID-19.