COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator

The COVID-19 pandemic affects people worldwide, also in low and middle-income countries where health systems are even less prepared to respond to health shocks. In order to save lives, reduce the need for hospitalization and hence to relieve health systems, safe and efficacious preventive and curative treatments are needed. Switzerland supports research and development of and access to COVID-19 treatments – an area where Swiss science and pharma are strongly engaged.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Infectious desease
Health systems strengthening
01.10.2020 - 30.09.2023
CHF  26’000’000

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global health, social and economic crisis. Not only have hundreds of thousands people lost their life and millions been infected by the virus. The pandemic has also revealed capacity limits of health systems both in high- and low- and middle-income countries.

In the context of the additional framework credit of CHF 107,5 million for COVID-19-related international cooperation (Federal Decree of 4.6.2020), Switzerland supports international efforts to develop and make efficacious and safe diagnostics, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 and other future viral pathogens available to people in low- and middle-income countries.

Treatments are a key pillar because vaccines may not reach full protection and their deployment at global scale take time.The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is a collaborative effort to research, develop and bring effective preventive and curative treatments quickly and accessibly to markets and people in low and middle-income countries. Focus lies on treatments that prevent COVID-19 cases with mild or moderate symptoms to progress to more serious illness. By providing agile, flexible and coordinated pooled funding of several donors at critical stages during the development and production process, the Accelerator supports availability of affordable treatments for COVID-19 and other future epidemic threats. Switzerland not only is a key donor, but also provides other resources like research, production and regulatory expertise through its pharma industry and national agency for therapeutic products.

Objectives Ensure equitable access to efficacious and safe COVID-19 treatments especially for people in low- and middle-income countries.
Target groups

Primary target group: Low and Middle- Income Countries and their populations who can access life-saving treatments

Secondary target group: Health workers whose lives would be better protected and their workload eased if safe and efficacious treatment provided prophylaxis, accelerated cure, shortened hospital or intensive care stays, and avoided death.

Tertiary target group: Medicines manufacturers who have a business case to provide treatments to poorer countries and people

Medium-term outcomes

1.       Develop efficacious and safe treatments based
         on existing products that can be repurposed for
         COVID-19 and brought to market by the end of 2020
         (target:100 mio treatments).

2.      Develop efficacious and safe antiviral therapies and
         antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19 and other
        viral pathogens (target:20 mio treatments).

3.      Facilitate access for people in low- and middle-income
         countries to COVID-19 treatments by accelerating
         regulatory approval and by ensuring sufficient production,
         affordable prices and efficient distribution.


Expected results:  

Output 1: Existing, already registered medicinal compounds and antibodies identified that can be screened for their potential efficacy for COVID-19

Output 2: In-vitro assays and animal testing of target compounds set up and run

Output 3: Clinical trial master protocols developed

Output 4: Clinical trials funded and run

Output 5: Manufacturing infrastructure and capacity set up to produce approved COVID-19 treatments (including clinical supplies for trials and commercial capacity)

Output 6: Medicines approval procedures for emergency use of COVID-19 treatments (repurposed compounds) identified and collaboration established

Output 7: Up-front contingency agreements and/or agreements on potential technology transfer signed with manufacturers in case they cannot produce (enough)

Results from previous phases:   No previous phase as it deals with a new, time-bound initiative for the fight against COVID-19.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Coordination with other projects and actors

1.    WHO COVID-19 R&D Blueprint

2.    COVID-19 Diagnostic Partnership

3.    Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Coalition (CEPI)

4.    The Vaccine Alliance (GAVI)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    26’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    26’000’000