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Coronavirus Global Response - Q&A

04 May 2020
by eub2 -- last modified 05 May 2020

The European Union is joining forces with global partners to kick-start a pledging effort - the Coronavirus Global Response - starting on 4 May 2020.


What is the Coronavirus Global Response?

Responding to the 24 April call to action, the European Commission announced that it was joining forces with global partners to kick-start a pledging effort – the Coronavirus Global Response – starting on 4 May 2020. The goal is to raise an initial sum of €7.5 billion as part of an on-going resource mobilisation.

The Coronavirus Global Response has two main aims:

  • To rally support for global collaboration and attract significant funding from the public, private and philanthropic sectors for the development and deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines and strengthening the health systems as required to achieve this;
  • To secure a high-level political commitment to ensure equitable access to therapeutics and vaccines everywhere, leaving no one behind.

All new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments developed for coronavirus should be made available globally for an affordable price, regardless of where they were developed.

More information is available on the website:

How was the €7.5 billion fundraising target set?

The €7.5 billion ($8 billion) figure is based on an assessment of what is initially and most urgently needed, done in March 2020 by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB).

The GPMB, an independent monitoring and accountability body for preparedness and response capacity against global health emergencies convened by the WHO and the World Bank, identified a shortfall of funding for major needs to fight this pandemic in key areas.

The goal is to develop safe vaccines, tests and therapeutic products at an unprecedented speed and scale and make them accessible and affordable in an equitable way for everyone around the world.

GPMB has indicated that the full scale up of manufacturing and delivery will cost well above the current target, which only covers the most urgently needed initial resources.

The €7.5 billion is therefore only a starting point for the pledging marathon starting on 4 May and more will be needed in the future. The exact final target will depend on the work accomplished by the global partners, monitored and steered within the ACT-Accelerator global response collaborative framework.

What is the ACT-accelerator global response framework?

A universal and affordable Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) was the main objective of the 24 April call to action from the global health partners. For this, significant funding is needed as well as a collaborative framework with a clarity of purpose and structure, to align global efforts and ensure that the money donated by countries is put to good use.

Based on discussions with governmental and non-governmental partners, the European Commission proposes a collaborative framework for the ACT-accelerator global response, as a coordination structure to steer and oversee progress made globally in accelerating work on the following three priorities: the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics with universal access, underpinned by strengthening of health systems needed for realising these priorities.

Its three main missions would be:

  • Coordination through an agreed division of work at global level with light coordination;
  • Resource mobilisation to fill the gaps in funding and manufacturing and identify opportunities
  • Distribution for equitable and affordable access globally.

The structure would be in place for two years (renewable). It would capitalise on the expertise of existing institutions and partners and not establish any no new structures or institutions.

Who would take part in the ACT-accelerator global response framework?

The core of the framework would be the three partnerships based on each of the three priorities. These would work as autonomously as possible, with a transversal work stream on health systems.

A group of governmental and private non-profit partners would facilitate the work of the vaccine, therapeutics and diagnostics partnerships.

The European Commission will reach out to the governments that co-convened the 4 May pledging event.

The private non-profit partners could be organisations with global reach and a track record in working for global public goods, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the World Economic Forum.

In the view of the European Commission, the ACT-Accelerator framework could report to a global body such as the G20, possibly extended to the African Union, theAsia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the World Health Organization and the World Bank Group on:

  • Progress made in the three priorities i.e. vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics as well as work on strengthening health systems for coronavirus;
  • Identification of additional resources needed in the future;
  • Envisaged action to raise such resources (through pledging or otherwise).

How would the three partnerships work?


Each partnership would have two co-convenors, empowered and resourced to animate a partnership with all relevant actors (public sector, industry, research, funders, regulators, international organisations).

Each of the three partnerships aligns the actions of the actors involved, in a whole-value-chain approach (from research to delivery and universal access). Together, they develop the agenda and co-implement the work needed.

  • For vaccines, the co-convenor for the partnership would be CEPI, jointly with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for vaccine deployment.
  • For therapeutics, the co-convenor would be the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, a new Joint Venture by the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, jointly with UNITAID.
  • For diagnostics, the co-convenor would be FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) jointly with the Global Fund

A transversal work stream, across the three partnerships, deals with supporting health systems in order to cope with coronavirus, in which the WHO would play a prominent role.

Who is in charge of the funds raised?

The Commission will register and keep track of pledges from countries, international organisations, financial institutions, the private sector and foundations directed towards the needs in diagnostics, treatments and vaccines until end of May 2020.

The Commission will not receive any payments for the pledged funding into its accounts. Funds go directly to the recipients. Recipients will, however, not decide alone on the use of the donation, but in concertation with the partnership.

The commitment is for all new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments against coronavirus to be made available globally for an affordable price, regardless of where they were developed.

How much money is the European Commission pledging in this context?

To help reach the objectives of the Coronavirus Global Response, the European Commission is pledging €1 billion from its budget in grants, complemented by €400 million in guarantees on loans (Access to Risk Finance for InnovFin Infectious Diseases Financial Facility, implemented by the European Investment Bank).

The money comes from reprioritisation of Horizon 2020 (€1 billion), RescEU (€80 million), the Emergency Support Instrument (€150 million) and external instruments (€170 million). €100 million will be donated to CEPI and €158 million to the World Health Organization.

EU-funded calls for proposals and projects under Horizon 2020 will be aligned with the objectives of the three partnerships and subject to open access to data. They will mostly target scientific research and disruptive innovation via the European Innovation Council.

Funding under RescEU will go towards the procurement, stockpiling and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

Who can pledge? Why can't private individuals make a donation in the context of the Coronavirus Global Response?

All countries and private entities can pledge, i.e. business, foundations, philanthropic organisations.

Individuals can show their support for the call by interacting online, spreading awareness about the initiative and encouraging companies to pitch in. The Commission is not asking donations from private individuals. However, citizens can directly donate to support the COVID-19 Response Fund of the WHO or to partner organisations.

Where will the pledges go?

The 4 May pledging event aims to mobilise an initial €7.5 billion of new funding (since 30 January).

The €7.5 billion are indicatively broken down for each partnership (vaccines, treatments, diagnostics), and within each partnership for Research & Development and Deployment.

Once the initial pledging marathon is over, additional resources will be mobilised on the basis of needs identified and justified by the partnerships.

Donors can donate to partnerships (via the co-convenor) or directly to individual partners in the partnership. They also have the option of donating to support health systems in fragile countries for coronavirus-related actions through the WHO.

Money flows directly to the partnerships (co-convenor) or to other targeted recipients.

Pledging of resources can take the form of:

  • Cash contributions (grants);
  • Additional resources to be allocated (indirect grants) through the donor's regular channels but aligned with the partnership's agenda (joint programming) and with open access to results (data, knowledge and Intellectual Property to the extent needed to ensure universal deployment and access)
  • Guarantees for investments (loan or equity) into commercial ventures or volume (purchase) guarantees that contribute to a partnership's agenda.

Each partnership will be expected to report all donations received as part of the ACT-Accelerator framework to the facilitation group, which would oversee and communicate progress reports and report to the global community and the public at large on resources pledged, received, used and further required.

Who gets the funding and how can you prevent potential conflicts of interest

The three partnerships (vaccines, treatments, diagnostics) will include partners that are key organisations in the global response to coronavirus with a mandate and interest in enhancing global health.

Direct recipients of funding will be established organisations supporting the development and deployment of tests, treatments and vaccines, according to proven processes and agreed criteria. A recipient will not decide alone on the use of the donation, but in concertation with the partnership.

Who will have ownership of the products produced with funding from the initiative?

For publicly funded research, there should be open access to results, i.e. data, knowledge and to intellectual property to the extent needed to ensure global deployment and access.

Funding will benefit organisations that strive to ensure that the products will be available, accessible and affordable across the world, especially in the most vulnerable countries.

Business partners will in principle not be required to forgo their intellectual property, but funding pledged will be accompanied by commitments from donors in support of global access and fair deployment of new diagnostics, treatment and vaccines against coronavirus.

Where are the main needs in the areas of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics?

In these three areas, research and development (validation for tests) are most urgent, but underfinancing exists mainly on manufacturing, procurement and deployment. The current situation is as follows:

  • Vaccines are difficult to develop and the outcome of research is uncertain. Currently, there are more than 80 vaccines in development, and at least 6 have entered into clinical trials. Once a vaccine is available, the challenge will be to produce it in the extremely high quantities needed and required, as well as to ensure that it is available and accessible for all countries, including low and medium-income countries.
  • Therapeutics: So far, morethan 40 developers of potential treatments for coronavirus have contacted the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Member States for scientific advice. Most of the treatments proposed are medicines currently authorised for other diseases. Clinical trials are currently ongoing to determine their efficacy for the treatment of coronavirus patients. Once new therapies are identified, they will need to be produced, manufactured and procured at global scale. This will require significant funding.
  • Diagnostics (Tests): Several types of tests, for different purposes, are currently in use. Some are used to detect infection and others to detect if the person has been infected by the virus. The latter still have be validated in terms of performance and produced on a large scale. The challenge is the procurement and deployment of tests, including equipment to analyse the results when applicable, as well as the link with effective and well-resourced testing strategies.

What is the estimated timeline for delivery on the three strands?

Given the current crisis, there is no time to lose. Funds will be allocated as quickly as possible. While a number of solutions are already being investigated, R&D, manufacturing and deployment are all time-consuming, resource-intensive steps. This is why it is crucial to coordinate efforts at international level, to identify as quickly as possible the most promising solutions while accelerating their development.

What are the links with the funds already raised for the WHO?

Funding pledged to the World Health Organization (WHO) related to the fight against coronavirus since 30 January 2020 – the date when it declared coronavirus a global health emergency – will be counted as part of the Global Response funding target. This enables the aligning of resources already pledged by countries in the early aftermath of the outbreak of the global emergency.

What is the link to the replenishment of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance?

To face this crisis, developing countries need strong defences. The deployment of coronavirus vaccines will be next to impossible if we allow immunisation programmes to collapse. These health systems provide the core infrastructure needed to distribute them - the supply chains, the cold chain equipment, the trained health care workers, disease surveillance and community outreach. Support to lower income countries, as part of our global response, is essential to ensure our global health security and to avoid future pandemics.

Given this global need, pledges are also welcomed to Gavi's replenishment, in order to contribute to raising at least US$7.4bn for its next five-year period. The EU and the co-hosts of the pledging initiative are strong supporters of Gavi and its role in the global coronavirus pandemic response.

Will the fruits of the initiative only benefit countries that participate?

No, the objective of this pledging event is to speed up innovations and ensure access for all, irrespective of the geographical origin of funds. Pandemics can only be effectively controlled when solutions are deployed globally. The initiative aims to rally significant financial contributions to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines and secure a high-level political commitment to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to make sure no-one is left behind.

Source: European Commission

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