On Friday, the WHO detailed the plans for its Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched at the end of April to support the development of vaccines, treatments, and tests for the novel coronavirus.
A key part of the project is to ensure that any technology created or supported for use against COVID-19 is available globally, including fair access to low- and middle-income countries.
To fund this effort, the WHO released a document calling for $31.3bn (€27.7bn) of investment.
The ACT Accelerator will funnel the funds into three areas of focus, vaccines ($18.1bn), therapeutics ($7.2bn), and diagnostics ($6bn).
In terms of timelines, the sum for vaccine development is required in the next 18 months whilst the two latter ‘pillars’ have a timeframe of one year.
Despite this, the periods provided by the ACT Accelerator are broken down into ‘immediate needs’, which covers the organization’s targets for the next six months. At present, $17.1bn of funds are considered immediate needs.
The organization currently has some way to go before it hits its target, having raised 11% of the total investment required across all three pillars, at $3.4bn of investment. So far, the bulk of this funding is going into vaccines, with $2.6bn apportioned to this pillar.
For the organization’s work on vaccines, the plan is to deliver two billion of successfully developed vaccines by the end of 2021. As a step in this process, the ACT Accelerator created a global COVID-19 vaccine facility that allows countries to share risk by accessing a portfolio of vaccine candidates.
Currently, the organization is focusing on bolstering vaccine production capacity for several vaccine candidates, in order to meet demand.
For therapeutics, there is a projection to procure and deliver 245 million courses of therapeutics, specifically for populations in low- and middle-income countries. Whilst for diagnostics, the aim is to deliver 500 million tests for the same bracket of countries.
As part of the measures to deliver two billion doses of vaccines, ACT Accelerator is also spreading the funding it receives to the R&D of vaccines.
The organization states that funding is going to the ‘most promising vaccine candidates’, as well as working to ensure regulatory conditions are in place to ‘allow the safest and most seamless passage’ from early stages to commercialization.
Though ACT Accelerator did not specify which these candidates would include, it is likely that the organization would be funding some or all of the potential vaccines that the US government put forward as the recipients for its own investment efforts.