The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged an additional $250 million to support the research, development and easier delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to every needy person across the world.
The foundation has asked for a global commitment to support the scientific breakthroughs that are needed to end the pandemic and to make these innovations available to everyone who needs them by 2021.
The Gates Foundation’s latest contribution is the largest to date, coming on top of the $70 million funding that it made in November. This brings its total commitments to the global pandemic response to $1.75 billion.
The co-chair of the Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates says that everyone has the right to benefit from the scientific developments made to evacuate COVID-19 and the foundation is confident that the situation will get better in the next year. But making this happen depends on “the world’s leaders and their commitment to delivering tests, treatments and vaccines to the people who need them, no matter where they live or how much money they have.”
With this funding, the foundation aims to bring innovation in tests, treatments and vaccines that are easier to scale and deliver, less expensive and used in different settings. The financing will also support the delivery of these new tools to low and middle-income countries.
Rolling out the innovations requires as much planning, urgency and collaboration as needed in developing it. It will require manufacturing tests, doses of treatments and vaccines, enough finance to buy and distribute them, organizing logistical infrastructure and supply chains, preparing clinics and health workers to administer them and many more.
The latest fund will aid countries to employ efficient technology and delivery system to plan and implement the rollout of vaccines and further it will support the efforts to make communities aware and build trust about new COVID-19 interventions.
“Thanks to the ingenuity of the global scientific community, we are achieving the exciting medical breakthroughs needed to end the pandemic. We have new drugs and more potential vaccines than we could have expected at the start of the year. But these innovations will only save lives if they get out into the world.”
As the world is preparing to confront one of the biggest logistical challenges of history in terms of scaling as well as complexity and this can draw on the expertise of global organizations like Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund, which has teamed up with governments to deliver vaccines, tests and treatments against the pandemic for people in lower-income countries.
“The next phase of fighting this pandemic will be much costlier than the initial development of safe and effective vaccines. 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,” says Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman.