Bill Gates pitches in on coronavirus R&D and containment efforts with $100M commitment
The Gates Foundation has signed up to take a role in the growing public-private response to a brewing pandemic.
The nonprofit group said Wednesday it is prepared to spend up to $100 million to help spur new R&D into vaccines, diagnostics and therapies while reserving part of that money for detection and containment work.
“Multilateral organizations, national governments, the private sector and philanthropies must work together to slow the pace of the outbreak, help countries protect their most vulnerable citizens and accelerate the development of the tools to bring this epidemic under control,” said new Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman. “Our hope is that these resources will help catalyze a rapid and effective international response. This response should be guided by science, not fear, and it should build on the steps that the World Health Organization has taken to date.”
Gates’ involvement comes as a host of players direct efforts to hustle up new antivirals and vaccines to blunt and eventually end an outbreak of the Wuhan virus, which has now infected thousands and killed hundreds. As new cases are reported outside of China, experts are increasingly afraid that the fast-spreading virus could trigger a pandemic that could force the death toll much, much higher.
Regeneron was one of the most recent companies to jump in, alongside Moderna, Vir, CureVac and many others. Gilead has been in the spotlight as well with its experimental antiviral. But in this situation, where development barriers are steep and the demand is sky-high, it remains uncertain how fast therapies and vaccines can be developed — and how effective they will prove to be.