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Gates Foundation, Wellcome pledge fresh $300m for vaccine development

Gates Foundation, Wellcome pledge fresh $300m for vaccine development
January 19
22:33 2022

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome, a global charity foundation, have each pledged $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership the two organisations launched five years ago with the governments of Norway and India.

The pledges are aimed at supporting CEPI’s plan to better prepare for, prevent, and equitably respond to future epidemics and pandemics.

In a statement on Wednesday, Gates Foundation said when the COVID pandemic began, CEPI responded immediately by building “one of the world’s largest and most diverse portfolios of COVID-19 vaccine candidates”, of which three have been granted emergency use listing by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Beyond COVID-19, CEPI has filled a vital gap in supporting vaccine equity alongside R&D. CEPI is currently supporting the research and development of accessible vaccines against other infectious diseases, including the first-ever vaccines to reach clinical trials against the deadly Nipah and Lassa viruses,” the statement reads.

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Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, said the need to deliver new, lifesaving tools has never been more urgent, as the world responds to the challenge of a rapidly-evolving virus.

“Our work over the past 20 years has taught us that early investment in research and development can save lives and prevent worst-case scenarios,” he said.

“Five years ago, following the Ebola and Zika epidemics, our foundation helped launch CEPI. Today, we’re increasing our commitment and pledging an additional $150 million to help CEPI accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines against emerging variants of the coronavirus and to prepare for, and possibly even prevent, the next pandemic.”

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On his part, Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome, said the foundation has learned the importance of conducting high-quality research during a crisis, adding that its “new commitment of $150 million recognises the enormous potential CEPI has to protect lives against emerging infectious diseases”.

Meanwhile, Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, said CEPI’s investments in groundbreaking research, commitment to equitable access, and cooperation across the public and private sectors are vital in protecting the world against the greatest health threats.

“We call on global leaders to help CEPI reach its funding target of $3.5 billion,” she said.

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