Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), has inaugurated access to COVID-19 tools accelerator, to quicken the production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for the virus.
Ghebreyesus inaugurated the tools on Friday in Geneva at the WHO headquarters.
In his speech posted on WHO website, he said WHO was proud to be uniting with many partners to launch the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, or the ACT Accelerator.
“This is a landmark collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19.
“Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the tools to defeat COVID-19.
“The ACT Accelerator brings together the combined power of several organisations to work with speed and scale.
“Each of us are doing great work, but we cannot work alone,’’ the director-general said.
According to him, COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis that has been met with an unprecedented global response.
“Research and development have played a central role.
“Since January, WHO has been working with thousands of researchers all over the world to accelerate and track vaccine development – from developing animal models to clinical trial designs, and everything in between.
“We’ve also developed diagnostics that are being used all over the world; we’re coordinating a global trial on the safety and efficacy of four therapeutics against COVID-19.’’
He said the world needed these tools, and it needed them fast.
Ghebreyesus said past experience had taught us that even when tools were available, they had not been equally available to all, saying: “we cannot allow that to happen”.
The director-general, however, appreciated some leaders and partners for coming together to work in new ways to identify challenges and solutions together.
“I am especially grateful to President Emmanuel Macron, President Ursula von der Leyen and Bill and Melinda Gates for their leadership and partnership in co-hosting this ACT Accelerator launch.
“We’re also grateful for the support of many other world leaders.
“And I would especially like to thank Sir Andrew Witty and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for agreeing to act as Special Envoys for the ACT Accelerator.
“We are facing a common threat, which we can only defeat with a common approach,’’ he said.