Global COVID-19 surges on amid push for more support

Sept. 11, 2020

As the pandemic total approached 29 million cases, World Health Organization (WHO) officials warned that a global effort to speed the development of new drugs, vaccines, and tests to battle COVID-19 only has a fraction of the financial support it needs, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.

With cases surging in India, where a record 95,735 cases were reported, the global total climbed to almost 28 million, and over 900,000 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

In April, the WHO and its partners announced a massive effort called the ACT Accelerator to scale up and equitably share new COVID-19 countermeasures, which got initial support from a donor pledging event hosted by the European Commission. The ACT Accelerator Facilitation Council met for the first time; the group is tasked with building political support for the effort ahead of key meetings, such as the United Nations General Assembly, and drawing more financial support from donors.

At a recent WHO media briefing, Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said no disease in history has ever prompted such rapid research developments. "Now, the world's ambition to develop these tools as fast as possible must be matched by its ambition to ensure as many people as possible have access to them," he said.

However, Tedros warned that the ACT Accelerator will not be able to achieve its goals without a significant funding increase. So far, it has received $2.7 billion, which has paved the way for a robust start-up. But the effort has only 10 percent of its financial needs and faces a $35 billion funding gap.

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