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Gates Foundation donates $100M to coronavirus treatment, prevention efforts

Ann Schmidt

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Wednesday that it will donate $100 million for treatment and protection against the coronavirus.

The donation is an expansion of an initial commitment of $10 million toward the efforts against the disease, the foundation announced in a press release.

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) asked for $675 million Wednesday to help countries address the expected spread of the virus.

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Of the donation from the Gates Foundation, $20 million is being given to several organizations -- including WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Health Commission of China and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention -- specifically for detecting, isolating and treating people who are diagnosed with the virus, according to the release.

“This funding is intended to help public health authorities cover the initial cost of labor and supplies while international agencies and national governments appropriate the resources necessary to fund ongoing operations,” the release said.

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Another $20 million will be focused on protecting at-risk populations in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The funding will support public health agencies with their emergency facilities, disease surveillance efforts and their ability to isolate and treat cases of the virus.

The foundation’s final $60 million will go to “accelerate the discovery, development and testing of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics” for the coronavirus.

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“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,” Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said in a statement.

“Our hope is that these resources will help catalyze a rapid and effective international response,” Suzman added. “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 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was founded in 2000 by billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda.

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