President Cyril Ramaphosa will today participate in a virtual event to mark the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT Accelerator).

The event brings together ACT Accelerator co-founders, Facilitation Council co-chairs and principals from partner agencies. It will afford participants a chance to reflect on progress, challenges and the path forward.

South Africa, alongside Norway, has co-chaired the Facilitation Council of the ACT Accelerator since September 2020.

In one year, the ACT Accelerator has made significant strides in the development and equitable distribution of millions of diagnostic kits, vaccines doses and treatment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The accelerator comprises four pillars: Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Vaccines (also known as COVAX), with the Health Systems Connector pillar working across the other three. Each pillar is managed by two to three partner agencies.

Additionally, the World Health Organisation leads on the cross-cutting Access and Allocation work stream.

As of 19 November 2020, since the launch of the ACT Accelerator, the Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Vaccine the Health Systems Connector pillars has delivered the following:

  • The Diagnostics pillar has invested in innovation for faster, more accurate, affordable and easier-to-use tests, boosting manufacturing capabilities, and ensuring that tests are scalable. More than 50 diagnostic tests have been evaluated. In September 2020, ACT Accelerator partners announced that they would make available 120 million affordable, quality COVID-19 rapid tests for low- and middle-income countries.
  • The Therapeutics pillar aims to find the most promising treatments for everyone across the world and ensure that the most marginalised communities can access the benefits too. It is analysing more than 1 700 clinical trials for promising treatments and has secured dexamethasone for up to 2.9 million patients in low-income countries. It has also secured an agreement to help facilitate future access to monoclonal antibody therapies in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The Vaccines pillar – also known as COVAX – represents the largest and most varied portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines globally and which currently contains over 10 vaccine candidates.

The pillar also launched the COVAX Facility for global procurement of vaccines, with over 180 countries engaged.

A total 190 countries signed up to the COVAX Facility which has shipped more than 40 million doses to 100+ participating economies.

The aim for 2021 is to deliver 2.5 billion safe and effective doses by the end of the year.

The Health Systems connector has surveyed over 100 countries to identify health system bottlenecks and capacity gaps, and mapped the systems requirements for COVID-19 tool delivery in four out of the world’s six regions.

The event will be live streamed from the World Health Organisation’s pandemic page.

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