The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) announced Thursday that it would commit an additional $70 million to ensure that coronavirus vaccines are available for everyone, not just those who could afford them.
Today we are committing $70 million to global efforts to develop and distribute safe, affordable, and timely vaccines for low- and middle-income countries. pic.twitter.com/l2oswJ5W9h— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) November 12, 2020
"COVID-19 anywhere is COVID-19 everywhere. That is why we have to ensure that everyone gets equal access to tests, drugs, and vaccines when they are available - no matter where you live in the world", co-chair of the foundation, Melinda Gates, said in a statement.
The bulk of our commitment ($50 million) will go to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) of @Gavi which aims to secure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries. https://t.co/5Eh7KShjMi— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) November 12, 2020
The foundation pledged $50 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment group, an arm of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The additional $20 million grant will go to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to advance research and development for an additional slate of candidate vaccines. https://t.co/1MGY4qXy5J— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) November 12, 2020
Gavi is a public–private global health partnership with the stated goal of increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.
An additional grant to the tune of $20 million is pledged to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
The two bodies, Gavi and CEPI, are co-leading vaccine efforts for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
The global collaboration was created to “accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines”, according to the foundation.
The Seattle, Washington-based American private philanthropy group founded by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000 made the statement at the Paris Peace Forum, which brought together heads of state, international organisations and private sector leaders to discuss the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re trying to stitch different country efforts together,” Melinda Gates had stated in June, at the Forbes Philanthropy Summit in June.
The commitment from the world’s largest private charitable foundation, with a trust endowment of $49.8 billion, comes in the wake of encouraging news earlier this week of a major development in a coronavirus vaccine.
American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc. and partner, German biotechnology company BioNTech, said in a Monday morning release that its COVID-19 vaccine was "found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19" according to an early analysis that included 94 confirmed cases of the virus in trial participants.
"The vaccine was proven to be very efficacious, overwhelmingly. And that was big news for me as well," said Pfizer CEO and Chairman Dr. Albert Bourla, speaking on ABC's "GMA3."
However, it was added that more safety data would be required prior to authorisation.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, however, faces a plethora of costly hurdles in potential distribution, as its delivery system is complex, requiring the use of a custom-built "cool box" storing 1,000 to 5,000 vaccines for up to 10 days at minus 94 degrees.
"The shipper will utilise real-time temperature-monitoring devices, including GPS tracking and technology, to allow for 24/7 in-transit control," Brian Gleeson, senior director of Pfizer's global supply and product portfolio management, was quoted by ABC News as saying at a meeting convened by the Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Pfizer jab is one of 11 vaccines that are currently in the final stages of testing across the world being manufactured by various other pharmaceutical companies.