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Gates Foundation, Mastercard, Wellcome Commit $125M Funding To Speed Up Coronavirus Treatment

Neer Varshney

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has teamed up with Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) and the Wellcome Trust to launch a "COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator," it announced Tuesday.

What Happened

The accelerator, launched with a $125 million seed funding, would be used to speed up the response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, including "identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up" treatments.

The Gates Foundation and London-based non-profit organization Wellcome will contribute $50 million each to the fund with the Mastercard Impact Fund contributing the rest $25 million, according to the statement.

The non-profit organization of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates had previously announced $100 million funding in the fight against the coronavirus spread in February.

The accelerator is part of the previously announced fund, Gates Foundation said. It will focus on evaluating and speeding up the availability of both new and repurposed drugs and biologics that could be used to treat COVID-19.

The Gates Foundation said that the new fund would continue beyond the COVID-19 outbreak, and similarly support the solutions for other viral pathogens as its long-term goal.

"Viruses like COVID-19 spread rapidly, but the development of vaccines and treatments to stop them moves slowly," the foundation's chief executive officer Mark Suzman said.

"If we want to make the world safe from outbreaks like COVID-19, particularly for those most vulnerable, then we need to find a way to make research and development move faster."

Why It Matters

The coronavirus continues to spread globally, with more than 119,000 confirmed cases worldwide, including 4,284 deaths. Analysts have expressed concerns over the ability of public health infrastructure, especially in less developed countries, to be able to bear the burden of mass spread.

Several pharmaceutical companies have signaled progress in developing an antiviral for the COVID-19, but a treatment for the virus at a mass scale isn't expected to be available until at least next year.
Both Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) are expecting to see clinical trials for their vaccines in April.

Price Action

Mirosoft shares closed 6.84% higher at $160.92 on Tuesday and traded 1.63% lower at $158.30 in the after-hours session.

Photo Credit: Public domain photo via Wikimedia.

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