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ACT Accelerator explained in simple language Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 27, 2021

It may be good you know this: In order to save humanity from COVID-19, the World Health Organization came up with an initiative in April called ACT-Accelerator.

This was because when other major infectious diseases greatly affected the world in the past, rich countries were able to fund research and eventually come up with vaccines for their people.

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The poor had to wait for rich people to get the vaccines first and if there were some left, they received them later. By that time, many people had died. There are many examples. When the United States invests billions of dollars, that’s the budget of many countries combined.

Unable to invest in research and development, many poor countries had no other choice but to let their people die and hope the richest countries would come to their rescue. But COVID-19 is highly transmissible. It’s airborne and it moves from one country to another.

It can quickly go from China to Europe and from there to the United States to Africa and back to Europe or China. The only solution would be to defeat it everywhere, including in Africa where many countries do not have the same financial muscles to fund research, conduct clinical trials, develop vaccines and distribute them.

And so, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) came up with an initiative called ACT Accelerator or COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

This means bringing scientists from fall over the world and all countries to work together instead of trying to work separately to outdo one another. But there was a challenge. Who will fund it? To do all of that, you need money. And so, the way to go about it was to make countries contribute money. Almost all countries in Africa have agreed to participate in the COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the ACT Accelerator.

The idea is, rich countries will fund and develop their own vaccines and will also contribute some money to the ACT-Accelerator project. Poor countries will pull their resources together via the ACT-Accelerator project. Scientists will come together and develop vaccines.

The successful ones would then be fairly distributed to all countries at the same time and defeat the virus. There are more than 180 vaccines being developed around the world and about 35 clinical trials are taking place.

Today, September 10, 2020, the WHO Director General speaking in Geneva said only 10 percent of the money needed has been received.

At the inaugural meeting of the ACT-Accelerator today that included the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa who is the current African Union Chairperson said Africans must be included in all aspects of vaccine development and distribution. He called on countries to fund and support the initiative because our lives all dependent on it.

Read more here.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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