Top News

  • WHO-led ACT-Accelerator publishes investment cases – $31.3 billion needed for tools to fight COVID-19, unveils ambitious plan to deliver 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to high-risk population.
  • AstraZeneca, Japan start talks over supply of COVID-19 vaccine, involving Daiichi Sankyo
  • Scientists begin to understand the many health problems related to COVID-19


  • WHO: The consolidated investment case for tools against COVID-19 calls for US$31.3 billion over the next 12 months. US$3.4 billion has been contributed to date, resulting in a funding gap of US$27.9 billion, of which $13.7 billion is urgently needed. Pillar plans published today show a path to the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of 500 million tests to LMIC’s by mid-2021, 245 million courses of treatments to LMICs by mid-2021, and 2 billion vaccine doses, of which 1 billion will be purchased for LMICs, by the end of 2021.
  • STAT News: WHO, partners unveil ambitious plan to deliver 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to high-risk populations. In addition to the funding — $11.3 billion of which must be raised in the next six months — the project would also need commitments from high- and upper-middle income countries to purchase up to 950 million doses of vaccine. Countries will be offered “shares” of the nine candidate vaccines that CEPI is supporting, as well as other vaccines the consortium may end up purchasing. The idea is that because it is not known which vaccines will be successful, purchasing shares in a pool — to be called the Covax facility — will broaden a country’s chances of having access to vaccines. It is expected that charitable donors will help support shares for low- and middle-income countries.
  • Reuters: WHO-led coalition says $31.3 billion needed for tools to fight COVID-19. The investment required is significant, but it pales in significance when compared to the cost of COVID-19 – less than a tenth of what the IMF estimates the global economy is losing every month due to the pandemic. At a WHO briefing, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said the vaccines pillar under the ACT-Accelerator (COVAX) has had “really very constructive” engagement with companies about the involvement of the private sector.





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  • Reuters: AstraZeneca, Moderna most advanced in COVID-19 vaccine race: WHO.Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, said that AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate is probably the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development, with Moderna’s candidate being “not far behind”. The WHO is in talks with multiple Chinese manufacturers, including Sinovac on potential vaccines, as well as with Indian researchers, Swaminathan said. Andrew Witty, Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator, said it was important to consider a “portfolio of research efforts” for vaccines.


  • CNBC: Coronavirus vaccine will not be a cure-all, virologist warns. Robert Lambkin-Williams, an independent virologist at Virology Consult Ltd, said there was no clear evidence that antibodies produced to fight off the virus gave people any protection against being reinfected with COVID-19.
  • Reuters: Brazil university in talks to test Italian coronavirus vaccine. Francesco Vaia, the chief medical officer at Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute, said the institute had agreed to do Phase II and III trials in Sao Paulo, once it completes the first phase which is expected to start in Italy in the first half of July.



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  • C&EN: Developing countries face diagnostic challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic surges. LMICs are particularly vulnerable to the surging pandemic, as many have no domestic capacity for manufacturing diagnostic tests, and rely heavily on imports. But with global supplies at a premium, LMICs either cannot afford pricey analytical equipment or reagents, or are simply unable to find manufacturers willing to supply them. FIND and other groups aim to boost testing capacity in LMICs.
  • PoliticoStudy: COVID-19 antibody tests get more accurate 2 weeks post-infection. The reviewfrom Cochrane looked at some 54 studies that used a variety of antibody tests, with the intention to understand their accuracy. It showed shows that antibody tests could have a useful role in detecting if someone has had COVID-19, but that timing is important. The tests were better at detecting COVID-19 in people two or more weeks after their symptoms started, but we do not know how well they work more than five weeks after symptoms started.
  • News Medical: IQWiG supports Healthy Agency of Emilia Romagna region in Italy in initial assessment of coronavirus diagnostics. Having analyzed a total of 40 studies worldwide, the authors of the HTA report conclude that antibody tests can detect a past infection with SARS-CoV-2. However, the accuracy of the tests is not yet sufficient.






WHO – COVID-19 UPDATE, 26 June

Statement by Dr Tedros during today’s media briefing (focused on ACT-Accelerator) here.

  • It’s clear that to bring COVID-19 under control, and to save lives, we need effective vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics – in unprecedented quantities and at unprecedented speed.
  • And it’s clear that because all people are at risk of COVID-19, all people should have access to all the tools to prevent, detect and treat it – not only those who can afford to pay for them.
  • The principle of equitable access is a simple thing to say, but a complicated thing to implement – it requires active collaboration between governments, industry, health organizations, civil society organizations, and communities.
  • Vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics are vital tools – but to be truly effective they must be administered with another essential ingredient, which is solidarity.