The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that it will immediately commit up to $100 million for the global response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The funding will help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. The new funding is inclusive of $10 million the foundation committed to the outbreak in late January.
“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 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.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, citing the risks the virus poses globally and the need for a worldwide coordinated effort to enhance preparedness, especially in fragile settings. The Government of China has also declared a national public health emergency and mobilized a nationwide effort to contain the virus and treat those who are infected.
The funding will be directed to multilateral organizations such as WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Support will also be directed to national public health authorities in China and other countries that have reported confirmed cases.
The foundation will provide up to $20 million to help public health authorities in the sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian regions to strengthen their emergency operations centers, implement effective disease surveillance efforts and improve their capacity to safely isolate and treat confirmed cases.
The foundation will also commit up to $60 million to accelerate the discovery, development and testing of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for 2019-nCoV.