Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday 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.
"Multilateral organisations, 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 Mark Suzman, CEO, Gates Foundation.
"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 Organisation has taken to date," Suzman added.
The foundation will immediately commit up to $20 million to accelerate the detection, isolation and treatment of people diagnosed with the virus with the goal of interrupting transmission and containing the disease.
This funding will be directed to multilateral organisations such as WHO and the US Centres 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 these regions strengthen their emergency operations centres, implement effective disease surveillance efforts and improve their capacity to safely isolate and treat confirmed cases. The foundation will commit up to $60 million to accelerate the discovery, development and testing of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for 2019-nCoV.
If 2019-nCoV transmission continues for several months or more, safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics will be needed to help sustain long-term approaches to disease control and to prevent severe disease and deaths. As of Thursday, the death toll in China has increased to 563, while the number of confirmed cases also rose to 28,018.