“This is a landmark collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for COVID-19,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said in his remarks at the launch, on Friday.
“Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the tools to defeat COVID-19,” a media release accessed by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said.
The ACT Accelerator brought together the combined power of a number of organisations to work with speed and scale, the Director – General said, adding that, the COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented global crisis that had been met with an unprecedented global response, with research and development playing a central role.
“Since January, WHO has been working with thousands of researchers all over the world to accelerate and track vaccine development - from developing animal models to clinical trial designs, and everything in between,” he explained.
“We have also developed diagnostics that are being used all over the world; and we are coordinating a global trial on the safety and efficacy of four therapeutics against COVID-19. The world needs these tools, and it needs them fast”.
Dr Ghebreyesus, however, stated that past experience had taught the world health body that even when tools were available, they had not been equally available to all.
“We cannot allow that to happen,” he emphasised, explaining that though countries were doing great work to contain the spread of the disease, “we cannot continue to work alone”.
Consequently, the WHO and partners, through the ACT approach, were coming together to work in new ways to identify challenges and solutions together.
Dr Ghebreyesus lauded French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and Bill and Melinda Gates for their leadership and partnership in co-hosting the ACT Accelerator launch.
“We're also grateful for the support of many world leaders, who you will hear from today. And I would, especially, like to thank Sir Andrew Witty and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for agreeing to act as Special Envoys for the ACT Accelerator”.
The world, he said, was facing a common threat, which could only be defeated with a common approach.