outbrain
Close  

Bill Gates calls for funding from G-20 members to develop vaccine vs coronavirus

/ 12:57 PM April 12, 2020
U.S.-SEATTLE-BILL GATES-INTERVIEW-CHINA

Bill Gates. Xinhua-Yonhap via The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

SEOUL — In order for the world to better contain the spread of the coronavirus, leaders of the Group of 20 (G-20) major economies should provide more funding to develop a vaccine, Bill Gates said.

In an opinion piece provided in South Korea exclusively to Yonhap News Agency on Sunday, Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, noted that COVID-19 has not yet affected many low- and middle-income countries, and said world leaders, particularly G-20 members, must step up to keep it that way because it is “likely only a matter of time before one part of the planet reinfects another.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the business magnate has been an active philanthropist and has waged fights against diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and polio

Gates laid down three steps for global leaders: ensuring proper distribution of resources such as masks and diagnostic tests, offering research and development (R&D) funding for a vaccine, and then manufacturing and delivering the vaccine.

FEATURED STORIES

Addressing protective equipment, Gates said, “Eventually, we hope there will be enough for everyone,” but he added some hard choices should be made in smart ways, so that resources reach the right people rather than simply “the highest bidder.”

“The private sector has an important role to play, but if our strategy for fighting COVID-19 devolves into a bidding war among countries, this disease will kill many more people than it has to,” Gates said. “We need to deploy resources based on public health and medical need.”

Gates said veterans of the Ebola and HIV epidemics can help develop guidelines for that, and that world leaders should work with the World Health Organization (WHO) to put them on paper to hold all participating nations accountable.

Gates then called on leaders to commit R&D funding to develop a vaccine.

He said Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and various governments, is developing “at least eight potential vaccines” for COVID-19, with expectations that at least one will be ready within 18 months.

Gates said it would be “the fastest humans have ever gone from seeing a brand new pathogen to developing a vaccine against it,” but the timeline will depend on funding.

“Many nations have contributed to CEPI within the past two weeks, but the Coalition needs at least $2 billion for their work,” he said. “That’s only a rough number — innovation is an unpredictable business — but the G-20 leaders should make meaningful pledges now.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And funding should not stop there, he said, because the price tag does not include the cost of manufacturing and delivering the vaccine.

“We aren’t sure which vaccines will be the most effective yet, and each requires unique technology to make,” Gates said. “That means nations need to invest in many different kinds of manufacturing facilities now, knowing that some will never be used. Otherwise, we’ll waste months after the lab develops an immunization, waiting for the right manufacturer to scale up.”

Gates said any COVID-19 vaccine must be classified as a “global public good” and remain affordable and accessible to all.

He cited the example of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, an organization that has worked with the WHO and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to introduce 13 new vaccines to the world’s 73 poorest countries. Gavi, set up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 1999, will need “$7.4 billion over the next five years” just to maintain its current immunization effort. Delivering a COVID-19 vaccine will be more costly.

“These multibillion-dollar price tags may seem like a lot of money, especially at a time when entire economies are slowing to a halt,” Gates said. “But they’re nothing compared to the cost of a botched immunization effort and a longer outbreak. Pandemics remind us that helping others isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing to do.” Yonhap

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Bill Gates, Coronavirus, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccine, G-20
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.