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GENEVA: Experts behind a global push to develop and roll out a vaccine and other treatment for the coronavirus say their ambitions require a big budget.
The World Health Organization and its allies made a pitch for their ACT-Accelerator that aims to get a Covid-19 vaccine and treatment tools to the neediest people around the world, no matter the cost.
They were speaking a day before a European Union conference to drum up support and funds for the initiative that the United States has shunned so far.
Ultimately, WHO and partners say the project needs more than $31 billion through the end of 2021, for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to fight a disease that has caused more than 9.6 million confirmed cases and killed more than 490,000 people worldwide.
“If we don't rally now, the human costs and the economic pain will deepen,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, one of the WHO chief's special envoys for the initiative. “So though these numbers sound big, they're not when we think of the alternatives.”
“Just think of the trillions of dollars that have had to be spent in order to stimulate economies back,” she said. “If we spend billions now, we'll be able to avoid spending trillions later.