Equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for coronavirus (COVID-19)

All R&D funders, developers, manufacturers and governments must help to ensure that new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments developed for COVID-19 are globally available, appropriate and affordable, regardless of where they have been developed or who has funded them. The COVID-19 virus has now reached every corner of the world – these products must also. 

Where will new products come from?

Many public, private and philanthropic organisations, including governments, are putting substantial resource into research and development (R&D) for COVID-19.

Two organisations that are coordinating this effort are the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. Equitable access sits at the heart of both of these initiatives. All other organisations involved in the global research effort must make the same commitment. 

Making new products available and affordable

Clear path for approval

New products must receive regulatory approval before they are made available. This process can take a long time, but is crucial for making sure new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19 are safe and effective.

To be able to respond to the outbreak quickly, product developers, regulators and other relevant bodies must engage with each other early on to set out a clear path, from development to approval. This is particularly important for vaccines being developed using innovative platform technologies which have not previously been used to develop a licensed vaccine.  

Scaling up manufacturing and distribution

The global reach of the virus means that most countries will need vaccines, diagnostics and treatments to stop the outbreak.

To meet this demand, product developers and partners need to start working now to secure the resources, expertise and partnerships necessary to scale up manufacturing capacity. And the global community needs to work out what a fair system for distributing these products should look like.

Affordable products for all countries

The COVID-19 pandemic affects most countries worldwide, including those that already have weak health systems and limited resources to tackle the outbreak.

It is critical that pricing mechanisms for new products are developed in a way that ensures vaccines, diagnostics and treatments are available to all those affected, regardless of their ability to pay. At the same time, sustainable pricing should enable developers to continue to support the COVID-19 research effort for as long as needed.

Long-term investment

Long-term investment in research underpins equitable access – if new products are not developed, or those that are cannot be produced at scale, they will not reach the people who need them.

At least $8 billion of new funding is needed immediately for the global response to COVID-19. This includes at least $4 billion for product development and $2 billion for manufacturing and delivery. Ultimately, more will need to be invested to ensure the right products can be scaled up and reach all those that need them.  

Why it's important

The COVID-19 pandemic affects us all, no matter where we live. To overcome it globally, everyone, everywhere must be able to access vaccines, diagnostics and treatments.

Everyone involved in the research effort – from R&D funders to developers, manufacturers and governments – has an important role to play by committing to the principles of equitable access and making sure it happens in practice.