The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced an additional commitment of $250 million in support of the development and equitable delivery of lifesaving tools in the global effort to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The largest single financial contribution to date by the foundation to the pandemic response effort will support the development of tests, treatments, and vaccines that are easier to scale and deliver and ensure that less expensive options are available in low-resource settings. The funding also will support the planning and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in low- and middle-income countries — an effort that will require organizing vaccine infrastructure and supply chains, preparing clinics and health workers to administer them, and sharing accurate information so that people understand and trust the science behind the vaccines they are given.
In conjunction with the announcement, the foundation called for global collaborations and commitments to make COVID-related medical innovations available in 2021 to all who need them.
"The next phase of fighting this pandemic will be much costlier than the initial development of safe and effective vaccines," said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman. "Our commitment today is only a fraction of what is needed and will be focused on the areas where philanthropy can best add value. Every institution with a role to play has to be generous now. Multilateral organizations, national governments, companies, and philanthropies — we all must invest in making sure the tests, drugs, and vaccines reach as many people as possible.
"Everyone, everywhere deserves to benefit from the science developed in 2020," said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates. "We are confident that the world will get better in 2021, but whether it gets better for everyone depends on the actions of the world’s leaders and their commitment to deliver tests, treatments, and vaccines to the people who need them, no matter where they live or how much money they have."
(Photo credit: Dieter Telemans/Panos Pictures)