WHO launches Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched its Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, a collaboration to progress the development of coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics.

WHO flag - launch of ACT Accelerator

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT Accelerator) has been launched. This initiative aims to mobilise the significant resources needed to advance work towards protecting the world from COVID-19.

Speaking at the launch event for the accelerator, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is an “unprecedented global crisis that has been met with an unprecedented global response.”

WHO united with many partners to launch the ACT Accelerator, a collaborative taskforce to promote the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19. It brings together the combined power of several organisations to work with speed and scale.

“Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the tools to defeat COVID-19,” said Ghebreyesus. 

Leaders from around the world came together at a virtual event for the launch and were joined by 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). 

They pledged to work towards equitable global access based on an unprecedented level of partnership. They agreed to create a unified voice, to build on past experience and to be accountable to the world, to communities and to one another.

“Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the tools to prevent, detect, treat and defeat COVID-19,” said Ghebreyesus. “No country and no organisation can do this alone. The ACT Accelerator brings together the combined power of several organisations to work with speed and scale.”

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 achievement of its objectives.

Commenting on the launch of the ACT Accelerator, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) emphasised that “researchers and scientists are working around the clock to accelerate the research and development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for use against COVID-19.” 

The organisation also highlighted that its members are expanding their manufacturing capabilities and sharing available capacity to ramp up production once a successful medicine or vaccine is developed, in order to make them available to as many patients as possible. 

“This pandemic transcends borders and we stand in solidarity and unity with citizens, governments, health systems and key partners in research to tackle the coronavirus,” said the EFPIA.