FIND statement on the pandemic FIF

Today, Sanjay Sarin, our VP Access, is speaking at a G20 technical working group taking place ahead of the 5th Joint Finance and Health Task Force meeting that will take place tomorrow in Bali, Indonesia.

The working group meeting is focused on “Building Global Health Resilience”, inputting into the scope and outputs of the proposed World Bank Financial Intermediary Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (pandemic FIF).

Our position on this topic follows. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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We acknowledge the vision of the G20 in creating a mechanism to ensure that we are better prepared for an equitable and quick response to the next pandemic.

Focus of FIF financing

100 Day Mission R&D

The World Bank proposal establishing a pandemic FIF has received broad support, yet we wish to stress that the scope of the pandemic FIF has not yet taken into consideration the summary recommendations of G7 leaders from June 2021 when they launched the 100 Days Mission (100DM). In short, the G7 recommended prioritized funding for R&D on vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for a select list of respiratory pathogens of pandemic potential.

Funding provided by the pandemic FIF will not be sufficient to address the next pandemic if these recommendations are not incorporated. 100DM implementation plans costed and prepared by FIND, CEPI, and others need to feature in any new pandemic preparedness and response mechanism, including the pandemic FIF. Strategic investments in regional R&D and manufacturing hubs and national capacity building need to be essential parts of the pandemic FIF and will support countries and the world to be able to manage future outbreaks.

Pandemic FIF financing is especially critical for the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics, including tests and systems needed for routine pandemic threat surveillance, and tests needed for early pandemic response, linking testing to care and supporting implementation of test-and-treat strategies.

Pandemic threat surveillance in the context of routine primary healthcare

With the rapid innovation in diagnostics in recent years, pandemic preparedness efforts, including those supported by the pandemic FIF, also need to focus on routine primary healthcare: point-of-care and rapid testing, linking routine care for patients with respiratory illness with pandemic surveillance, and investing in systems to ensure data capture and transmission to national disease surveillance databases. No system for pandemic preparedness or prevention can be successful unless it is built on regular, routine, primary healthcare systems, and testing for respiratory illnesses in addition to pandemic threats, is essential. Pandemic prevention and preparedness are likely to fail without investments in building human capacity and testing infrastructure at the primary level, where sustained pandemic threat monitoring must be implemented.

Immediate needs

From a diagnostics point of view, we would like to outline four immediate needs:

1) Ensure that diagnostics and development of the diagnostic tests essential for effective surveillance is in scope, and a key focus at the highest levels, and will serve as input for the first governing Board meeting of the pandemic FIF on 8–9 September.

2) On the R&D side, ensure that national, regional, and global initiatives for the introduction of new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics innovations include these critical components are already in scope for the first round of funding in November 2022:

  • setting up resilient and efficient supply chains
  • developing local / regional manufacturing capabilities
  • establishing mechanisms for market sustainability, such as volume guarantees linked to ceiling prices
  • regulatory harmonization

3) On governance, ensure that diagnostics have a central presence on the Board and on the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) coordinated by WHO, ideally led by a group with specialized expertise on diagnostics like FIND. The diagnostics representation of the TAP can mirror the structure of the ACT-Accelerator Diagnostics Pillar, with expertise across test development, manufacture, regulation, and implementation.

4) The principle of meaningful engagement of communities and civil society organizations is an essential element in sustainable and equitable health programming. We note that engagement with vulnerable populations and groups needs to be prioritized in the governance model adopted by the pandemic FIF.

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