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The ACT-Accelerator, the global collaboration to accelerate equitable access to COVID-19 tools around the world

Published 22 April 2021 in Analysis

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator (ACT-A) is a global collaboration launched in April 2020 to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis.

It brings together governments, scientists, firms, civil society, foundations, and international organizations.

The goal of the ACT-A is to accelerate development, equitable allocation, and scale-up delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. By the end of 2021, the ACT-A aims to rapidly scale up the delivery of at least 2 billion doses of vaccines (to 20% of the population of 190 countries), 900 million diagnostic tests and 165 million treatment courses, and strengthen the health systems of 114 countries.

- > To know ACT-A’s funding needs to reach its objectives for 2021, see this article.

What is the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator?

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is a time-limited global collaboration designed to rapidly leverage existing global public health infrastructure and expertise to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, in order to expedite the end of the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACT-A is convened by nine global health organizations, each bringing its own expertise to the table: research and development (CEPI, FIND, Wellcome Trust), market preparedness and access (Unitaid, FIND), control and norms setting (WHO), procurement (Global Fund, Gavi, Unitaid), support to health systems (World Bank, Global Fund, WHO).

How is the ACT-A organised?

The ACT Accelerator comprises four pillars: Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Vaccines (also known as COVAX), with the Health Systems Connector pillar working across the other three. Each pillar is managed by 2-3 partner agencies. Additionally, the WHO leads on the cross-cutting Access and Allocation workstream.

  • The Vaccines pillar – also known as COVAX:
  • It is led by CEPI, Gavi and WHO. Its role is to ensure that vaccines are developed as rapidly as possible and manufactured at the right volumes – without compromising on safety – and delivered to those that need them most.

    By early 2021, its goal is to secure 2 billion doses through the COVAX Facility, an actively managed portfolio of vaccine candidates across a broad range of technologies. All participating countries, regardless of income levels, will have equal access to these vaccines once they are developed. Read Gavi’s COVAX Facility governance explainer for more information.


  • The Diagnostics pillar
  • It is co-led by FIND and the Global Fund, with involvement by WHO. It aims to rapidly identify game-changing new diagnostics, and bring 500 million affordable, high quality rapid diagnostic tests to market by mid-2021, for populations in low- and middle-income countries.


  • The Therapeutics pillar:
  • It is led by Unitaid and the Wellcome Trust, with involvement by WHO. It seeks to develop, manufacture, procure and distribute 245 million treatments for populations in low-and middle-income countries within 12 months.


  • The Health Systems connector pillar:
  • It works across the other three pillars and is convened by the World Bank, the Global Fund and the WHO. It aims to strengthen the health systems and local community networks that are struggling to cope with COVID-19, and to unlock health system bottlenecks that might hamper the delivery and implementation of new and expanded COVID-19 tools. It also aims to ensure sufficient supplies of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical oxygen in low- and middle-income countries to protect frontline workers and to enhance the capacity of health systems to save lives.


  • Access and allocation:
  • Access and allocation is led by WHO, which directs the ACT Accelerator’s work on global access and allocation and regulatory processes.

    Civil society and communities engagement are integrated in each of the pillars.


    Further reading

    What is the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, how is it structured and how does it work? ACT-Accelerator Impact Report: Summary ACT now, ACT together 2020-2021 Impact Report