Pandemic preparedness and response: Beyond the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator

A person receives a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, during mass vaccine inside of Hermanos Lopez Rayon sports center, a designated  priority vaccination center for elderly over 60 years in the Uruapan town. On March 10, 2021 in Michoacan, Mexico (Photo by Eyepix/Sipa USA)No Use Germany.


The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a Solidarity Call to Action for equitable global access to COVID-19 health technologies by pooling data and intellectual property, with the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) being a primary component of the response.

While innovative, this response plan is, however, inadequate. Hence, we propose a new APT-A (Access to Pandemic Tools Accelerator) that provides more funding for diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, equitable access, and basic health systems and includes two other pillars or workstreams—one for economic assistance in pandemic times and another to combat structural inequalities.

As part of this buttressed response to adequately prepare for and respond to pandemics in our globalized world, we propose a permanent, improved version of COVAX, called POVAX (Pandemic Open Vaccine Access Accelerator), which requires: 1) implementing alternative reward mechanisms for new vaccines, 2) companies to pool intellectual property and other data to speed up research and 3) allow low-cost generic production, as well as measures to 4) ensure equitable distribution of resulting products.

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