Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the WHO-led global response to Covid-19 needs $31.3 billion for therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics over the next 12 months, including two billion doses of vaccines.

The money would go to the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, or ACT-Accelerator, a global collaboration initiated in April to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. Xinhua reported.

The WHO said on Friday some $3.4 billion has been contributed to date, resulting in a funding gap of $27.9 billion, of which $13.7 billion of the remaining gap is urgently needed. It plans to scale up delivery of 500 million tests and 245 million courses of treatments to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) by mid-2021, as well as two billion vaccine doses, of which one billion to be purchased for LMICs, by the end of 2021.

“The investment required is significant, but it pales in significance when compared to the cost of Covid-19,” said WHO in a statement, adding that the total cost of the ACT-Accelerator’s work is less than a tenth of what the International Monetary Fund estimates the global economy is losing every month due to the pandemic.

World Health Organization (WHO). (Photo: Twitter/@WHO)

The ACT-Accelerator is led by the work of WHO’s partner organizations collaborating under four pillars, including diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health systems connector. The vaccine pillar, with the combination of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has the estimate that it will cost up to 18.1 billion dollars to deliver two billion doses by the end of 2021. In addition, 950 million doses will need to be procured by self-financing high-income countries and upper middle-income countries.

“The good news is we have over 200 vaccine candidates at some stage of clinical development, 15 of them are now on human clinical trials,” said WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan at the press briefing of the organization on Friday.

According to her, at least four Chinese companies are ready going from phase two to phase three trails for vaccine candidates and the WHO is in the process of exchanging documents, signing confidentiality agreement with them in order to provide advice and support, and facilitate conduct of clinical trials.

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