The foundation that had already committed to $10 million in January, has increased the amount to help fight the deadly coronavirus that has infected 28,000 around the world and killed 560 in China.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged up to $100 million to combat the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has claimed hundreds of lives so far, reports CNN. The foundation's website released a statement that reads: The funding will help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. The new funding is inclusive of $10 million the foundation committed to the outbreak in late January. The organization will immediately allocate $20 million to groups including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
Last week, the WHO declared the virus a global public health emergency. The foundation has extended its help to health authorities in China and other countries with confirmed cases who will also get some support. Additionally, the organization will also focus on countries in South Asia and Africa, as people don't have access to good healthcare, which puts them at higher risk of contamination.
"Multilateral organizations, 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 Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman. "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 Organization has taken to date."
This is not the first time that Bill and Melinda Gates, known for their work in public health and philanthropy, have contributed to a cause. In 2009, they donated $33 million to help China combat a tuberculosis outbreak. In 2010, they committed $10 billion for vaccine research. As the coronavirus outbreak worsens, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the latest to contribute towards a cure. The virus has infected around 28,000 people in more than 25 countries and territories. At least 560 people have died to date, and most of them are in mainland China.
Other well-known business leaders who have pledged money are Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, who donated 100 million yuan ($14.4 million) to vaccine research and virus treatment measures, and Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun who contributed 12.7 million yuan ($1.8 million) to relief efforts in his home province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak.