WHO-led coalition needs $31.3 bln to fight COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO)-led coalition fighting the coronavirus needs 31.3 billion U.S. dollars over the next 12 months to develop and roll out tests, treatments and vaccines, it said on Friday. 

Today, 3.4 billion U.S. dollars had been collected, leaving a funding gap of 27.9 billion U.S. dollars, of which 13.7 billion was "urgently needed".

The WHO initiative aims to scale up delivery of 500 million tests and 245 million courses of treatments to low- and middle-income countries by mid-2021, as well as two billion vaccines doses, including one billion to be bought by low- and middle-income countries, by the end of 2021, it said in a statement.

The WHO is working with a large coalition of drug-development, funding and distribution organizations under what it is calling the ACT-Accelerator Hub.

In an update on the ACT-Accelerator initiative, launched in April to speed up R&D for the new disease, the WHO and global health groups said the coronavirus pandemic is still threatening millions of lives and scores of economies.

"The investment required is significant, but it pales in significance when compared to the cost of COVID-19," said the statement. "The total cost of the ACT-Accelerator's work is less than a tenth of what the IMF estimates the global economy is losing every month due to the pandemic.  468,000 thousand people have already lost their lives."

(Cover: Test tube with coronavirus name label, January 29, 2020. /Reuters)

Source(s): Reuters