New York, Dec 10: The Seattle-headquartered Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday announced that it will offer an additional $250 million to fund the research, development and equitable delivery of tools for Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.
"We are confident that the world will get better in 2021, but whether it gets better for everyone depends on the actions of the world's leaders and their commitment to deliver tests, treatments, and vaccines to the people who need them, no matter where they live or how much money they have," said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Foundation.
This funding will support continued innovation to develop tests, treatments, and vaccines that are easier to scale and deliver, to ensure there are many options that are less expensive and can be used in different settings, according to the statement.
"Today's commitment will also support the delivery of new Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, particularly in low- and middle-income countries," it said.
Additionally, the funding would be used to enable countries to employ cutting-edge technology and delivery systems to plan and implement the rollout of vaccines.
"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," said Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and co-chair of the Gates Foundation.
The expertise of global organisations, like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, could be tapped to tackle logistical challenges, said Melinda Gates.
"The next phase of fighting this pandemic will be much costlier than the initial development of safe and effective vaccines," said Mark Suzman, chief executive officer with Gates Foundation.
Suzman called on multilateral organisations, national governments, companies and philanthropies to invest in making sure the tests, drugs, and vaccines reach as many people as possible.
The total commitment by Gates Foundation in its global fight against the pandemic totalled $1.75 billion taking into account the latest commitment, the statement added.