Investors push for ‘effective, fair, equitable global response to Covid-19’
The signatories of the call, driven by the Access to Medicine Foundation, expressed concerns about the negative impact that limited funding for the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and uneven global access to health technologies (from vaccines and monoclonal antibodies to diagnostics and medical oxygen) will have on the trajectory of the pandemic and global economic activity in the coming years. Launched in April 2020 by the World Health Organisation with other players, the ACT-Accelerator is a global collaboration speeding up the development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
The investor coalition put forward two studies. One from the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation concludes global economy could lose up to $9.2trn if governments fail to ensure that developing economies gain access to Covid-19 vaccines. Another commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation assesses that leaving lower-income countries without access to vaccines amid the Covid-19 pandemic “will cause significant economic damage that puts decades of economic progress at risk – for both emerging markets and advanced economies alike.” The research values economic benefits of a global equitable vaccine solution alone for the 10 countries studied at a minimum of $153bn in 2020-21, soaring to $466bn by 2025 (or 12 times the $38bn estimated total cost of the ACT-Accelerator).
Innovative finance mechanisms required
“Given the pervasive health and social costs of the pandemic, we recognise a strong moral argument to leave no one behind,” the investor statement pointed out. The 120-investor coalition therefore fosters world political leaders to finance the ACT-Accelerator and “deploy adequate funding to ensure fair and equitable access to Covid-19 tools globally.” Furthermore, the investors commit to work with the Access to Medicine Foundation on this issue and engage with their investee healthcare companies to promote industry actions supporting the mission and operations of the ACT-Accelerator. Examples include cross-industry partnerships to accelerate R&D and expand production, equitable pricing strategies or voluntary licensing agreements.
Lastly, the coalition recommends that governments and international organisations explore the feasibility of innovative finance mechanisms for national and global Covid-19 responses. It added these would resemble vaccine bonds issued by the International Finance Facility for Immunisation or social bonds for Covid-19 programmes issued by governments.