A coalition of institutional investors, representing assets of more than $14 trillion have issued a call on developed world leaders to facilitate a fair and equitable global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including through fully financing the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partnership dedicated to developing, producing and ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 tools. The initiative has been coordinated by the Access to Medicine Foundation, an independent, non-profit organisation aiming to advance access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries.

The ACT Accelerator was launched in April 2020 to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, in a collaborative partnership bringing together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, the WHO, and the World Bank.

The investor group, including major institutional investors such as AllianceBernstein, Aviva Investors, AXA Investment Managers, Columbia Threadneedle, EOS at Federated Hermes, Fidelity International, Insight Investment, Nomura Asset Management, Schroders and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management, point out the costs of uneven access to COVID-19 tools, citing studies indicating that even if advanced economies can vaccinate all of their own citizens, the global economy stands to lose as much as US$ 9.2 trillion if governments fail to ensure that developing economies gain access to the vaccines.

In a statement released by the group, the investors call upon developed economy leaders to fully finance the ACT Accelerator and to deploy adequate funding to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 tools globally. The group also commits to working together with the Access to Medicines Foundation and to engage investee companies to promote actions supporting the ACT-Accelerator goals and operations. Additionally, the group recommends exploring the use of innovative finance mechanisms for national and global COVID-19 response, such as vaccine bonds or social bonds.

Damiano de Felice, Director of Strategy of the Access to Medicine Foundation, said:

“We have coordinated this initiative because institutional investors can contribute unique capabilities to the global efforts aimed at ending the current pandemic. On the equity side, they can speak directly to the senior management of their investee healthcare companies and ensure that essential COVID-19 tools are developed as rapidly and distributed as widely as possible. On the credit side, they can deploy billions of dollars to support the global economic recovery through innovative finance mechanisms that fund public and private programmes dedicated to pandemic response and preparedness.”

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