Why we’re giving additional $250m to fight COVID-19 ─Gates Foundation

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Gates Foundation, again, is making its largest single contribution of $250million to fight the disruptive Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as many have asked ‘why so much?’, and ‘why now?’

According to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on its Web site, it is been approximately a year since COVID-19 first appeared. The rationale has to do with where the public health effort is at the end of 2020.

The non-governmental organisation stated that in the pandemic’s first year, the work of ending the pandemic was confined to a relatively small domain: Labs and clinical trials.

That’s where researchers were developing new drugs, tests, and vaccines to fight COVID-19.

Around the world, public health experts were doing hero’s work, setting up field hospitals; treating and testing patients; securing supplies of oxygen and existing drugs like dexamethasone.

But no one thought those efforts were sustainable or that they’d neutralize the threat of COVID-19.

They were aimed at suppressing the spread of the virus until researchers succeeded in developing medical solution to the disease, and now they have.

It noted that as of today, three vaccine candidates have emerged from the trials with high efficacy rates, including Pfizer’s, Moderna’s, and AstraZeneca’s.

Two antibody treatments have been authorised for emergency use. Another antiviral has been FDA approved, it stated.

The body said world now has much of the science it needs to end this pandemic, and as regulators start to put their stamp of approval on it, the field of action is widening beyond the lab.

It’s expanding to the factories that will make the drugs, tests, and vaccines; to the warehouses, planes, and refrigerator trucks that will deliver them; to the clinics and health workers that will sit at the end of the supply chain and administer them to patients.

In respect of specific efforts the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is making towards ending the Coronavirus nightmare, Mr. Bill Gates, Chairman and Co-Founder if Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said the planet is about to be crisscrossed by a massive anti-covid manufacturing and delivery network.

In some places, it’s already up-and-running, said he.

According Gates, the world’s richest nations have pre-purchased enough vaccine supply to cover their populations; some will be able to cover everybody two or three times over.

However, the foremost multibillionaire American observed that the situation is very different for the majority of human beings that live in low- and middle-income nations,  including everywhere from South Sudan to Peru.

In these countries, the supply chain hasn’t started to hum, Gates stated.

In such countries, he noted, few deals have been cut with pharmaceutical companies, and the forecasts for vaccine supply are low.

The Co-Founder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation explained that as things stand now, these countries will only be able to cover 20% of their people at most, according to his foundation’s projections.

On the question of how will 2021 actually play out this way, with vaccines, drugs, and tests going mainly to the richest places?

Or will the lifesaving science be available to everyone, regardless of location or income? Gates said that his Foundation has a clear perspective on what the answer should be.

Mark Suzman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, stated “fair access to vaccines is part of our origin story.

“One of Bill and Melinda’s first big philanthropic acts was to help create Gavi, the organisation that works with low-income countries to immunise hundreds of millions of kids.”

The CEO disclosed that part of the fresh $250 million commitment would be channelled into funding a similar delivery operation for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.

ConsumerConnect reports that the latest announcement of the $250million support brings the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s total contribution towards fighting the pandemic to $1.75 billion.

In stressing the strategic importance of vaccines against the Coronavirus, Gates noted in order to stop a pandemic funding is needed at every step.

In fact, this announcement brings the Gates Foundation’s total contribution towards fighting the pandemic to $1.75 billion.

He said much of the funding has gone into the production and procurement of crucial medical supplies.

According to the organisation, some of the funding, including the recent $250million commitment, comes in the form of new direct grants.

Suzman also stated that another tranche is repurposed funding from elsewhere in our budget, while still more is not direct funding at all.

It’s in the form of loans and other financing measures, he noted.

The CEO emphasised that it is important to point out there is not a hard break between the scientific phase of the fighting the pandemic and this new, more logistical one.

In 2021, R&D funding will still be needed for new drugs, vaccines, and tests, in part because some of these initial ones aren’t ideally suited for low-income nations.

The Pfizer vaccine, for instance, needs to be kept at sub-zero temperatures, which will be very difficult when transporting it to very rural areas.

Our foundation will keep funding innovation, Suzman assured.

Likewise, he urged generous and committed world leaders to abide by this principle: “That, in 2021, everyone, everywhere deserves to benefit from the science developed in 2020.”

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