World leaders must fund the development and equitable delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines for all
The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) released the following statement in advance of the Global Goal: Unite for Our Future Summit on June 27:
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare that the extent of our preparedness for any health emergency is determined by the tools we have to respond to it. It is clearer now than ever before that research and development (R&D) must be the tip of the spear of our response to global health emergencies—and that innovation is our exit strategy from the economic and social ills brought on by this unprecedented crisis.
At the recent pledging conference organized by the European Union and the replenishment summit for Gavi, the vaccine alliance, world leaders took an important first step in mobilizing crucial funds to develop innovations to help the poorest countries cope with COVID-19 and strengthen health systems. But this is not enough.
As world leaders gather again at the Global Goal: Unite for Our Future Summit on June 27th, we must seize this opportunity to ensure that we have the resources and efficient, inclusive mechanisms in place to rid the world of COVID-19, deliver equitable access to innovations, and prevent future pandemics. To do that, leaders must urgently commit to sustainable financing for pandemic preparedness and health R&D. We must break the deadly and costly cycle of panic and neglect once and for all.
We welcome country commitments made thus far to support the development of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, but underscore that more investment is needed. Diagnostic testing for COVID-19, in particular, remains severely underfunded, with just 2.5 percent of all donated funds allocated to diagnostic efforts.
As an organization focused on the advancement of drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other tools for poverty-related and neglected diseases, GHTC is pleased to serve as a civil society partner focused on the upstream R&D activities of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and supports robust Global South-led civil society engagement, particularly to articulate the demand for various COVID-19 products as they are being developed. Innovations must be developed with the needs of vulnerable communities in mind, and any plan being launched on the development, production, procurement, and distribution of possible future health technologies needs to have universal access and equity at its heart.
Furthermore, we encourage leaders to leverage the summit for a dialogue on how countries can work together to strengthen and participate in the World Health Organization’s Global Allocation Framework for COVID-19 products.
The June 27th summit is an opportunity for the world to come together and to lay another marker on the long road to ending the COVID-19 crisis and building a sustainable health R&D infrastructure to face future outbreaks.