Geneva: The World Health Organization on Thursday urged countries to invest billions of dollars in finding vaccines and treatments for COVID-19-a vast majority compared with the huge economic losses of the coronavirus crisis.
The World Health Organization insists that this is a smarter choice than the trillions of dollars invested in dealing with the aftermath of the global pandemic.
The head of the UN agency Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked for investment in the ACT-Accelerator program led by the WHO, which aims to share global R&D, manufacturing and procurement to defeat COVID-19.
Citing the International Monetary Fund’s forecast, he said that the US$12 trillion flu pandemic would be eliminated within two years, and he urged countries to spend on shared solutions.
“It s the best economic stimulus the world can invest in,” Tedros told a virtual press conference.
Funding the ACT-Accelerator, with $31.3 billion needed immediately, “will cost a tiny fraction in comparison to the alternative, where economies retract further and require continued fiscal stimulus packages”.
He said spreading the risk and sharing the reward is a better bet than the option some countries have taken, of going it alone in backing one of the dozens of vaccines in development.
“Picking individual winners is an expensive, risky gamble,” he said,
“The development of vaccines is long, complex, risky and expensive The vast majority of vaccines in early development fail.”
Tedros said that many different types of vaccine candidates are needed to identify the best one.