“World against Covid-19.” This is the title of the global fundraising campaign launched on May 4 to combat the pandemic that has swept across the entire world. The aim is to fund solutions that can be made available globally at a cost accessible to all. The initiative responds to the call to action launched by the World Health Organization on April 24 to create a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and access to new health technologies essential for the treatment of Covid-19.
The event was organized by the European Union together with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia (currently holding the G20 presidency), – Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Companies and individuals are able to contribute to the fundraising, alongside state bodies, with each able to direct its donation to one of the three priorities identified:
- development of vaccines to prevent the return of the disease and enable a return to regular life;
- identification of new treatments to minimize symptoms in coronavirus patients, to contain the number of hospitalizations;
- development of new, accurate and affordable tests to diagnose the disease quickly.
Each of the three areas involves the creation of a partnership covering the entire value-chain, from research and development to production and market deployment.
For the first priority, the fundraising will be addressed to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a partnership that aims to increase access to vaccination on a global scale, particularly in developing countries, and CEPI, the Epidemics Preparedness and Innovation Coalition, a partnership launched in 2017 involving the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, and a consortium of states, including Norway, Japan and Germany and the EU since 2019.
The second priority involving the identification of effective therapies in the treatment of the disease, the consortium will be formed by Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, a new joint venture between the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, in collaboration with UNITAID.
The third priority, which focuses on the development of new and more accessible diagnostic tools, sees the collaboration of FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) and the Global Fund. All activities will be carried out under the cross-cutting coordination of the World Health Organization.
Currently, €7.4 billion ($8 billion), has been raised, almost reaching the target set by the Commission at €7.5 billion. The EU has contributed €1.4 billion to the fundraising through Horizon 2020, RescEU, the Emergency support tool and other external funding tools. In addition, the Commission will be responsible for coordinating fundraising at a global level, which will continue until the end of May.
A further key step is the Global Vaccines Summit organized by Gavi and scheduled for June 4, which will provide an opportunity to discuss the state of the art and mobilize additional funding to advance research and deployment of a globally accessible therapy.