New forms of credit score and bonds may fill a $ 28 billion COVID funding hole: WHO

© Reuters. WHO press conference on the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019)

By Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization is currently reviewing new financial instruments to cover a $ 28 billion funding shortfall on tools to fight COVID-19, a senior official said Tuesday.

The WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance aims to provide diagnostic tests, drugs and vaccines to poor and middle-income countries through a fund known as the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, established last April has been.

Bruce Aylward, a senior advisor to WHO and its ACT coordinator, said new funding mechanisms – including concession loans and catastrophe bonds – were discussed at a meeting of the ACT Moderation Council on Monday, co-chaired by Norway and South Africa.

"At the moment, funding stands between us and getting out of this pandemic as quickly as possible," he said at a United States briefing in Geneva.

"It's a real challenge in today's fiscal environment, even though this is the best deal in town," said Aylward, referring to the ACT Accelerator facility. "This will pay off in 36 hours once we start trading and traveling again."

Aylward said WHO and its partners were in talks with Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 to launch its COVID-19 vaccine as part of an early global launch.

He said he saw a "strong commitment" from Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to keep prices reasonable for poorer populations. Aylward was expecting some news that more manufacturers will be added to the list of suppliers of the COVAX vaccine facility in the coming weeks, he said.

Canada has pledged to spend $ 485 million ($ 380 million) in support of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines in low and middle income countries, including antibody treatments, International Aid Minister Karina Gould said Monday .

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