With pandemic at turning point, G20 must act to ensure equitable access to innovations and prevent future threats
At this week’s G20 Health Working Group meeting, G20 nations will be setting priorities that will have enormous implications for our ability to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and address other emerging and enduring health crises. This pandemic has shown with devastating clarity how vital the research and development (R&D) of health technologies is to confront global health challenges. But it has also laid bare the inadequacies of our current international structures and systems for supporting R&D and ensuring affordable, equitable global access to resulting tools.
As G20 health leaders meet this Thursday and Friday, GHTC urges them to prioritize the following actions to bolster R&D to defeat COVID-19, mitigate its impacts, and combat other long-standing and emerging threats:
- Ensure the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) are fully funded. ACT-A is facing a US$22.1 billion shortfall in funding for 2021 to realize its mission to develop and equitably deliver COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, tests, and other tools worldwide. Alongside its ACT-A work, CEPI is pursuing a boldly transformative initiative to speed vaccine development for epidemic-risk diseases to just 100 days and bolster manufacturing, for which it requires $3.5 billion in replenishment funding.
- Unlock sustainable financing for global health innovation by making R&D investments eligible for financing from the World Bank and other international financial institutions and creating new financial mechanisms for pandemic preparedness. Unlocking this capital would support low- and middle-income countries in securing new resources to strengthen their research, laboratory, surveillance, and manufacturing capabilities.
- Incorporate R&D into existing multilateral policy frameworks to help countries assess and strengthen their R&D capabilities. G20 members should push for the inclusion of R&D capacity indicators within the implementation of the International Health Regulations and support integration of R&D into the Global Health Security Agenda framework.
- Prioritize investments in R&D to fight the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). To address the precariously thinning pipeline of antimicrobial innovations, G20 nations must directly invest in R&D for new tools to combat priority AMR threats including hospital-acquired infections and drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and HIV, as well as support collaborative international research efforts like the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, the AMR Action Fund, and the Global AMR R&D Hub.
- Sustain robust investments in R&D for long-standing global health challenges. The pandemic has eroded global progress against HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and other poverty-related and neglected diseases and disrupted research efforts. To regain lost ground, G20 nations must recommit to making strong sustained R&D investments and incentivize public-private partnerships to advance end-to-end product development for affordable, accessible tools.
It is GHTC’s hope that G20 leaders will seize this moment to radically reimagine a future where health R&D and health equity are enshrined as top political priorities for the world.
To view more details on GHTC’s recommendations for G20 leaders, click here.