WHO-led coalition says it needs US$31.3b to fight COVID-19

WHO-led coalition says it needs US$31.3b to fight COVID-19

The World Health Organization-led coalition fighting the coronavirus says on Friday, it needs US$31.3 billion over the next 12 months to develop and roll out tests, treatments, and vaccines.

It said US$3.4 billion had been contributed to date, leaving a funding gap of US$27.9 billion, of which US$13.7 billion was “urgently needed”.

The WHO initiative aims to scale up delivery of 500 million tests and 245 million courses of treatments to low- and middle-income countries by mid-2021, it said in a statement.

It also aims to scale up delivery of 2 billion vaccine doses, including 1 billion to be bought by low- and middle-income countries, by the end of 2021.

The WHO is working with a large coalition of drug-development, funding, and distribution organizations under what it is calling the ACT-Accelerator Hub.

In an update on the ACT-Accelerator initiative, launched in April to speed up research and development for the new disease, the WHO and global health groups said the coronavirus pandemic is still threatening millions of lives and scores of economies.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that he might have contracted the novel coronavirus previously and he may do another test for the disease, having already tested negative for the virus multiple times weeks earlier.

Bolsonaro had said he tested negative twice but fought a court battle to stop the release of the hospital test results, raising questions over whether he may have been infected or not.

Brazil recorded 39,483 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours as well as 1,141 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Brazil has registered more than 1.2 million cases since the pandemic began, while cumulative deaths total 54,971, according to the ministry.

It is not certain that scientists will be able to create an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could take a year before one were to be invented, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Speaking by video-conference to deputies from the European Parliament's health committee, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that if such a vaccine became a reality, it should become a public good available to all.

He said the WHO had already more than 100 candidates for a vaccine of which one was at an advanced stage of development.

"Hoping that there will be a vaccine, the estimate is we may have a vaccine within one year. If accelerated, it could be even less than that, but by a couple of months. That's what scientists are saying," he said.

Global COVID-19 cases topped 9.6 million Friday while the global death toll surpassed 489,000, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

The United States is the worst-hit country, with more 2.4 million confirmed cases and more than 124,000 deaths. 

Countries with over 200,000 cases also include Brazil, Russia, India, Britain, Peru, Chile, Spain, Italy, Iran and Mexico.

As of Thursday afternoon, Africa's confirmed cases have surpassed 336,000 and the death toll topped 8,800, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said. 

Source: Agencies

Published on: Jun 26, 2020 22:23:54