The solution to this crisis is to support initiatives designed to accelerate the development of new diagnoses, therapies and vaccines against COVID-19, as does the ACT Accelerator of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners, said Thursday the General secretary of the United Nations.
During the virtual meeting to inaugurate the work of the ACT Accelerator Support Council, António Guterres highlighted that Despite the fights, it is still not too late to reverse this situation. The initiative is a global alliance that seeks to promote the development, production and equitable access to tests, treatments and vaccines against the coronavirus, with the participation of governments, scientists, companies, civil society and philanthropists and health organizations to world level.
“We must start immediately by expanding existing and new tools that allow us to respond quickly to new cases and provide robust treatment to suppress transmission, as well as save lives, especially in the next 12 months,” Guterres said.
The Secretary General stated that the ACT Accelerator “is the global answer we seek” and that the time has come to make important political decisions such as decisively increasing the economic endowment of the initiative.
“The $ 3 billion contributed to date is a significant initial investment for the ACT Accelerator start-up phase. But now we need 35,000 million more to move from the “initial” phase to the “expansion and impact” phase.“, he asserted.
Guterres emphasized the urgency of obtaining this amount since, without an injection of 15,000 million dollars during the next three months, the opportunity to advance the investigation, accumulate reserves while licenses are granted, begin to acquire and supply the new treatments will be lost. and therapies, and help countries in the optimal preparation for when new vaccines arrive.
The Secretary General also considers It is essential to correct the numerous initiatives that are developed in parallel to the Accelerator and those focused on national areas. “This not only undermines an effective global response, it is counterproductive,” he said.
Finally, he emphasized the need to generate greater confidence in the efficacy of vaccines, since we are going through a time when the population’s distrust of immunizations is increasing worldwide.
“For any vaccine to work, the majority of men, women and children in the world must be willing to take it,” he warned.
The COVID-19 Vaccine as a Global Public Good
Guterres said that many people pin their hopes on the appearance of the vaccine against the disease, but lowered their expectations by stating that “in a pandemic there is no panacea”.
“A vaccine alone cannot solve this crisis; certainly not in the short term. But from this moment on, the vaccine should be seen as a global public good because COVID-19 does not respect borders”, He stressed.
As such, he underscored the need to support efforts to accelerate the development and availability of new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapies and vaccines, and ensure equitable global access and distribution such as those provided by the ACT Accelerator.
After joining the launch of the initiative four months ago, Guterres highlighted that during the first phase the main partners worked to demonstrate the viability of this model.
“They showed that it is possible to achieve a rapid diagnosis that changed the rules of the game; They began to apply the only proven effective therapy for severe cases of the disease in all countries; they created a broad and effective vaccine portfolio and have established the COVAX Vaccine Service, which spans 170 countries, ”he listed.
Unitary response to a shared threat
The director general of the World Health Organization, for his part, recalled that the pandemic is a clear sign that the planet needs the United Nations more than ever. “In the face of a common threat, we need a common response.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus explained that Norway and South Africa will be the co-chairs of the Accelerator Support Council and that the role of both nations will be fundamental to direct and guide the organization.
Tedros appreciated the $ 2.7 billion the initiative has received to date, but he recalled that this amount represents less than 10% of the total needs.
“At the same time, bilateral agreements and nationalism on vaccines could compromise equitable access and delay progress for all countries to end the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of these challenges, the arguments for a joint global commitment are even more compelling than when the ACT accelerator was launched, ”he stressed.