The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced an additional commitment of $150 million in support of the global response to COVID-19.
The commitment will support efforts in four areas: accelerating virus detection, protecting the most vulnerable populations, minimizing the social and economic impact of the pandemic, and developing products for a sustained response. Grants will support efforts to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; strengthen health systems in sub-Saharan African and South Asian countries and help them scale their COVID-19 detection, treatment, and isolation efforts; and mitigate the social and economic impacts of the global health crisis, including expanding access to social payment systems for communities most at risk.
The foundation also pledged to leverage a portion of its $2.5 billion Strategic Investment Fund to catalyze the rapid procurement of essential medical supplies and help life sciences companies secure financing to produce COVID-19 products. To that end, the fund will use equity investments, loans, and volume guarantees to help health systems in low- and middle-income countries procure personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, COVID-19 diagnostics, oxygen therapeutics, and other supplies and treatments.
The commitment is in addition to pledges of $100 million announced in early February and $5 million in March in support of public health agencies and frontline responders in the greater Seattle region.
"It is increasingly clear that the world's response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable," said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates. "We have a responsibility to meet this global crisis with global solidarity. In addition to contributing to the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, these funds will support efforts against COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries, where local leaders and healthcare workers are doing heroic work to protect vulnerable communities and slow the spread of the disease."
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