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WHO chief calls for meeting 35-bln-USD financial gap on COVID-19 response WHO

WHO chief calls for meeting 35-bln-USD financial gap on COVID-19 response

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 26 Sep 2020, 09:20 am

Geneva/Xinhua: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged the international community to help meet a financial gap of 35 billion US dollars for the "Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator" (ACT-Accelerator), a WHO-led global collaboration for the development of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

"We are not asking for an act of charity. We are asking for an investment in the global recovery," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday, adding that "The economic benefits from restoring international travel and trade alone would repay this investment very quickly."

The WHO admitted that the amount is a lot of money. "But in the context of arresting a global pandemic and supporting the global economic recovery, it's a bargain," as it is less than one percent of what G20 governments have already committed to domestic economic stimulus packages.

Of the 35 billion U.S. dollars, 15 billion is needed immediately to fund research and development, scale up manufacturing, secure procurement and strengthen delivery systems, he noted.

The WHO chief announced that world leaders will meet virtually next week for a high-level side event during the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the work of the ACT Accelerator, and to call for the financial commitments to realize its promise.

Also at the press briefing, Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, reaffirmed that the very existence of WHO and the ACT-Accelerator are examples of multilateralism in the sharing of knowledge and in collective responsibility for protecting global health.

As the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across the globe -- including Britain, China, Russia, Britain and the U.S. -- are racing to find a vaccine. According to the WHO website, as of Friday, there are 189 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 40 of them are in clinical trials.