The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced that it would be donating $125 million in funding towards the race to find a cure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Thursday, the 64-year-old Microsoft-founder spoke about the pandemic with host Trevor Noah in The Daily Show. During the interview, the billionaire mentioned that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, together with Wellcome and Mastercard, committed to contributing funds to help seven factories working on potential vaccines.
The goal is to “speed-up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments.”
There are currently no known anti-virals or immunotherapies available for treating COVID-19. Right now, doctors can only treat the symptoms. The fund will be used not only in finding an antidote for the novel coronavirus but also for other viral pathogens in the longer-term.
Gates understands that a “few billion” dollars could go to “waste” on efforts that don’t pan out, but it’s essential to work on safety and efficacy at the same time as producing vaccines so as not to waste precious time. Government protocols would only lengthen the process, and Gates said his foundation could get things started on the prospects.
“But a few billion in this situation we’re in where there’s trillions of dollars being lost economically, it is worth it,” he said. “… Every month counts.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched in 2000, announced the project, which they named “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator,” through a press release last month.
A report from The New York Times says that there have been more than 1.2 million people affected by the virus and 70,000 deaths worldwide as of April 6.
On Sunday, Gates took to Instagram to express his gratitude to the brave health workers on the front lines risking their lives to combat this virus.
He shared a short clip of himself holding a sign by a window saying, “Thank you, health care workers” along with the caption, “Thank you to all of the health care workers who are making heroic efforts to test and treat patients across the United States and the world.”
This isn’t the first time that Bill and Melinda Gates have donated huge sums of their money towards humanitarian efforts.
Their many projects focused on dealing with matters related to global health, education, and poverty. Based on the annual list by The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranking personalities who gave the most to charity, the couple placed 7th in 2019, giving away $589 million towards charitable endeavors.
In 2010, the power couple launched The Giving Pledge, which implores billionaires to donate at least half of their money to charitable causes during their lifetime or in their will. In 2014, they donated over $50 million to help fight the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. They also pledged $38 million to a Japanese pharmaceutical company that is working on creating a low-cost vaccine for polio.
You may watch Gates’ interview with Trevor Noah in the video below.
Gates is the second-richest person in the world with a net worth of $97 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Thanks to Bill and Melinda Gates’ generosity, the world now has a better chance of defeating this virus!