The plan outlines key priorities and ways of working for the partnership as countries move to managing COVID-19 as a long-term public health issue
Plan focuses on vaccinating high-risk populations, introducing new treatments, boosting testing and ensuring sustainable access to COVID-19 tools
The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator is a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
The COVID-19 Tools Access Accelerator (ACT) today launches its plan for the next six months, outlining how, as a partnership of global health agencies working alongside government, civil society and other partners, it will support countries in the global transition to long-term control of COVID-19.
Recognizing the evolving nature of the COVID-19 virus and pandemic, the plan outlines changes to ACT-A’s setup and ways of working, to ensure countries continue to have access to COVID-19 tools in the longer term, while maintaining the coalition’s commitment. preparedness to help deal with future disease outbreaks.
Developed through a consultative process with ACT-A agencies, donors, industry partners, civil society organizations (CSOs) and Facilitation Board members, the plan summarizes priority areas of focus for partnership pillars, coordination mechanisms, and other critical functions, and highlights work to sustain, transition, wind down, or remain on hold. The transition plan supports the work of ACT-A agencies as they evolve the funding, implementation and integration of their COVID-19 efforts.
The next phase of ACT-A partners’ work will focus on three main areas:
Focus research and development (R&D) and market shaping activities to ensure a pipeline for new and improved COVID-19 tools
Securing institutional arrangements for sustainable access of all countries to vaccines, tests and treatments against COVID-19, including oxygen
Focus in country work on the introduction of new products (e.g. new oral antivirals for those most at risk) and the protection of priority populations (e.g. full vaccination of healthcare workers and elderly populations), at the supporting national and international goals
“As the world shifts towards the long-term management of COVID-19, ACT-A will continue to support countries with access to vaccines, tests and treatments,” said WHO Director General , Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “But as this plan, we still have a lot of work to do to achieve equitable access to these lifesaving tools, with health workers and at-risk populations being our top priority.
Other changes outlined in the plan include the transition to a new ACT-A Monitoring and Oversight Working Group, co-chaired by senior officials from India and the United States, the Policy-Level Facilitation Council going into “sleep” mode, with the ability to reactivate if necessary due to an upsurge in serious illnesses.
ACT-A agencies have been leading the resource mobilization efforts and this plan sets out the move to integrating financing and resource mobilization at the partnership level into the regular work of each agency going forward. Based on the three main areas of work described above, existing financial commitments and country demand for tools, ACT-A agencies require approximately $400 million for their transition work over the next few years. next six months. The ACT-A hub will continue to provide a transparent view of the funding situation of ACT-A agencies during this time.
The ACT-Accelerator is the world’s only end-to-end solution for accelerating development and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments. This partnership has played a key role in facilitating access to COVID-19 countermeasures for low- and lower-middle-income countries throughout the pandemic, including:
Delivering more than 1.8 billion doses of vaccines to 146 countries and territories – including 75% of vaccines deployed in low-income countries and the majority of doses supplied to Africa – through COVAX, the vaccine pillar led by the CEPI, Gavi, WHO and UNICEF .
Provide more than 161 million tests, more than halve the cost of rapid tests to less than $1 per test, and provide approximately 80% of tests used in Africa in the first year of the pandemic through the Directed Diagnostics pillar by FIND and the Global Fund.
Offering more than 40 million COVID-19 treatment courses, investing an unprecedented US$1 billion in expanding sustainable access to oxygen in LMICs, and launching the delivery of new antivirals, through the through the therapeutic pillar, led by the Global Fund, Unitaid and Wellcome.
Providing more than 2 billion pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), helping health systems deliver COVID-19 tools, and building their laboratory, waste management, and treatment capabilities, through Health Systems and Response Connector, led by the Global Fund, WHO and the World Bank.
The transition plan can be accessed here.
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: “As COVAX’s lead agencies, our goal is to continually evolve to meet the needs of the communities we serve. This ability to adapt to the changing pandemic environment and its challenges has helped COVAX to enable a historic large-scale global deployment in the face of an unprecedented emergency. Through 2023, COVAX will continue to help low-income countries protect their populations. In parallel, we will help countries integrate vaccination against COVID- 19 in routine national immunization programs, while preparing for spikes and other worst-case scenarios.
Ted Chaiban, Global Senior Coordinator for COVID Vaccine Preparation and Delivery to Countries, said: “COVID-19 vaccine delivery is most effective when it is country-led and partners align to support government ownership by accelerating the disbursement of funds, leveraging political commitment and providing technical advice and assistance. Looking forward, it is important to put in place a mechanism anchored in the multilateral system that ensures equity in all phases of future pandemics (prevention, preparedness and response) and strengthens essential health systems.
Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, said: “As part of the global response to COVID-19, Unitaid, co-leader of the therapeutic pillar of the ACT-Accelerator, and its partners have improved access to critical oxygen supplies and facilitated the uptake of life-saving therapies alongside to life-saving diagnostic tests. But it’s not over, a lot of work remains to be done. Despite the uncertainties over the course of the pandemic, we must focus on building resilience at the market and country level in light of unpredictable and rapidly changing scenarios. COVID-19 has shown us that achieving equitable global access to medical countermeasures requires a continuum between pandemic preparedness and response efforts.
**Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, said:** ‘It has now been almost three years since Covid-19 was first discovered and no one can say for sure what will happen next. What we do know is that we cannot afford to be complacent. This pandemic is not over. We still need to improve access to vaccines, treatments and tests globally, which means fully funding the ACT-Accelerator. The Accelerator has played a central, and at times solitary, role in pushing for global equity and access to be at the heart of the pandemic response, despite the fact that many of the world’s advanced economies are taking a very nationalist in sharing these vital tools.
It is essential that we maintain an integrated and equitable approach to this phase of the pandemic through ACT-A, that we invest in the development of new vaccines – those that can block infection and transmission – and better treatments, and that we continue to test and sequence the virus globally. Only then can we stop the circulation of Covid-19 and avoid the emergence of a new variant that overcomes our hard-earned defences.
CEPI CEO Dr Richard Hatchett said: “Much of the world has entered a phase of coexistence with COVID-19, but we must remain vigilant to the persistent and evolving threat posed by the virus and continue to fight for equity in access to vaccines. and other countermeasures. In parallel, we must continue to develop new and better countermeasures, which provide broader immunity and can be produced more easily, while building durable platforms to manufacture them. For this reason, world leaders must maintain their support for COVAX, ACT-A and their constituent agencies. »
Dr. Bill Rodriguez, CEO of FIND, said: “Diagnostics are a critical enabler of health for all and were among the first tools deployed through ACT-A in collaboration with partners in the country. We are now entering a new phase of managing COVID-19 and we are ready work alongside countries to integrate testing into routine health programs, ensuring those in need can be linked to timely treatment, while maintaining vigilance and preparedness for new waves potential.
Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, said: “The impact of the pandemic continues to threaten decades of progress for children, which is why the work of the ACT-A partnership is more important than ever. UNICEF will continue to work with our ACT-A partners to ensure that every country and community has equitable access to the vaccines and tools they need to fight the COVID-19 virus – and to strengthen primary health systems. and other life-saving services like routine immunizations that can save children’s lives and help them reach their potential.
Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, said: “As the world moves towards longer-term management of COVID-19 and prepares for future pandemics, the Global Fund will continue to work with its ACT-Accelerator partners to strengthen health systems and ensure an equitable and efficient supply of vital products. ”
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