WHO and partners seek $31.3 billion for COVID-19 fight

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The World Health Organization and partners fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has urged governments and the private sector to help raise $31.3 billion in the next 12 months to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines for the disease.

The group on Friday said $3.4 billion had been contributed to date, leaving a funding gap of $27.9 billion. Of that, $13.7 billion was “urgently needed”.

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

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said the quest for a vaccine was an important bit of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s clear that to bring COVID-19 under control, and to save lives, we need effective vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics – in unprecedented quantities and at unprecedented speed,” he said.

“And it’s clear that because all people are at risk of COVID-19, all people should have access to all the tools to prevent, detect and treat it – not only those who can afford to pay for them.”

The ACT-Accelerator was launched in April to speed up research and development work on medical tools to tackle COVID-19.

The WHO chief’s remarks came as the number of COVID-19 infections globally closes in on the 10 million mark.

Currently, there are more than 9.6 million cases and over 489,000 deaths, according to data from the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The WHO earlier this week reported a massive increase in daily new cases, urging countries to find careful and creative ways of reopening their economies.

In his address on Friday, Tedros also called for equitable distribution of the ACTs to help in the fight against COVID-19.

“It’s clear that because all people are at risk of COVID-19, all people should have access to all the tools to prevent, detect and treat it – not only those who can afford to pay for them,” he said.

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