Over $30 bn needed to develop Covid-19 tests, treatments, vaccines

Grant Boone
June 28, 2020

More than 9.6 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have been reported around the world.

"Pillar plans published today show a path to the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of 500 million tests to lower and middle income countries 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", the World Health Organization said.

Responding to queries on leading vaccine candidates, Swaminathan said AstraZeneca has the largest global commitment and was the leading candidate in terms of timing.

Swaminathan said 18.1 billion dollars will be needed through the end of next year, with 11.3 billion dollars of that being used within the next six months. "Vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics are vital tools - but to be truly effective, they must be administered with another essential ingredient, which is solidarity".

Andrew Witty, a special envoy for the ACT-Accelerator, said the field of research is wide and varied.

The WHO and its partners, including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), estimate that it will cost $18.1 billion to purchase and deliver the two billion doses of vaccine, which it will distribute to "at risk" populations, typically consisting of health care workers, the elderly and those with chronic conditions.

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The funds requested should make it possible to deliver 500 million tests and 245 million courses of treatment to low and middle-income countries by mid-2021.

AstraZeneca has already begun phase III human trials of its AZD1222 (formerly known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) vaccine.

There are now over 100 Covid-19 vaccine candidates in various stages of development.

So realistically, how long will it really take for us to see a vaccine ready to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic?

Experts therefore insist on the need to guarantee that vulnerable groups and health workers worldwide receive the first jabs.

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