Bill Gates promises US$100 million to fight coronavirus
Bill and Melinda Gates are donating US$100 million to help find a vaccine for the coronavirus.
This comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded the outbreak to an international emergency, and requests for US$675 million to help fight the spread of the disease.
Over the last 24-hours, the number of cases of the virus has risen exponentially. The total number has now surpassed 24,000.
According to WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, there is still a “window of opportunity to bring this outbreak under control,” because there are only 190 confirmed cases currently outside of China.
The WHO requested additional funds for a three-month response plan, including further quarantine measures and bolstering healthcare measures in at-risk countries.
“$675 million is a lot of money,” said Ghebyreyesus, “but it’s much less than the bill we will face if we don’t invest in preparedness now during the window of opportunity we have,” said Ghebreyesus.
The Gates Foundation’s US$100 million will go towards funding vaccine and diagnostic research, as well as helping protect those at-risk countries in Africa and South Asia.
The foundation’s CEO, Mark Suzman, said: “The response to the coronavirus should be guided by science, not fear, and it should build on the steps that the World Health Organization has taken to date.”
During a press conference this week, WHO Infections Hazards Director Dr Sylvia Briand said that currently, the coronavirus does not classify as a pandemic.