- 02 Apr 2021
- 4 min read
Why in News
Carl Bildt has been appointed as WHO Special Envoy for the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator).
- The ACT-Accelerator is a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.
- It was launched in the month of April, 2020 at an event co-hosted by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), the President of France, the President of the European Commission, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- It brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations.
- It aims to end the pandemic, restore full societal and economic activity globally and facilitate high-level control of Covid-19 disease.
- The ACT-Accelerator is organized into four pillars of work:
- Diagnostics, treatment, vaccines and health system strengthening.
- Each pillar is vital to the overall effort and involves innovation and collaboration.
- COVAX is one of four pillars of the ACT Accelerator.
- It is an effort to ensure that people in all corners of the world will get access to Covid-19 vaccines, regardless of their wealth.
- The initial aim is to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021, which should be enough to protect high risk and vulnerable people, as well as frontline healthcare workers.
- It is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), working in partnership with vaccine manufacturers of developed and developing countries.
- India’s Role:
- India has started shipping Covid-19 vaccines to Africa under the COVAX facility.
- Earlier, Serum Institute of India (SII) had received funds from Gavi and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to double its supply of Covid-19 vaccines (200 million doses) to India and other poorer countries as part of the Gavi COVAX facility.
- Significance of ACT-Accelerator:
- It is a crucial time for ACT-Accelerator when the world is rolling out vaccines against Covid-19, introducing new diagnostics and scaling up life-saving oxygen and corticosteroids for severe disease.
- It will help in addressing the uneven distribution of vaccines globally and the emergence of new variants of concern.
- Corticosteroids are a class of drug that lowers inflammation in the body. They also reduce immune system activity.
- Corticosteroids ease swelling, itching, redness, and allergic reactions, thus used in the treatment of diseases like asthma, arthritis, lupus, allergies etc.
- Corticosteroids resemble cortisol, a hormone naturally produced by the body’s adrenal glands. The body needs cortisol to stay healthy.
- Cortisol is a major player in a wide range of processes in the body, including metabolism, immune response, and stress.