The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a new $100 million contribution to the global response to the corona virus outbreak on Wednesday.
“Funding will help reinforce efforts to identify, isolate, and treat; protect at-risk populations; and improve vaccines, medications, and diagnostics,” the Seattle-based foundation said in a press release.
In a statement on Wednesday the foundation said its funds would be used to help find a virus vaccine, reduce its spread, and improve patient diagnosis and care.
It promised $10 million to combat the virus at the end of January. The number forms part of the current sum.
The corona virus has infected more than 28,000 people in China since December and has killed at least 560. According to the World Health Organization, the virus has also spread to at least 26 other countries and territories, although some 99 per cent of cases remain in China.
The Gates Foundation said that it would provide $20 million for the identification, isolation and care of corona virus people. The funds will be channeled to multilateral agencies including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as to health authorities in China and other high risk countries.
The foundation also focuses on countries in South Asia and Africa, where people are said to be at increased risk of contamination due to lack of access to quality healthcare. There will be up to $20 million going to health authorities in those countries.
The majority of the funds will be allocated “to help public health organizations to meet the initial labor and procurement costs, while international agencies and state governments are appropriating the money needed to fund current operations,” the foundation said.
The Gates Foundation has donated millions of dollars to fight back existing health problems and to curb them.
Bill and Melinda Gates are known for their philanthropy and public health work. They partnered with China authorities in 2009 to combat a tuberculosis epidemic in the region, contributing about $33 million to recovery efforts.
The couple dedicated as much as $10 billion in 2010, over the next decade, to vaccine development. They have introduced an initiative that same year with Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett called the “Giving Pledge,” which enables billionaires to give charity the bulk of their money.
While demand for fast responses to the corona virus outbreak has grown in recent weeks, philanthropic organizations have made prominent contributions.
The Jack Ma Foundation, founded by and named after the Alibaba Group’s Chinese billionaire and co-founder, donated $14.4 million in late January to tackle the outbreak.
According to a company spokesperson, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has donated 12.7 million yuan ($1.8 million) to the recovery efforts in his home province of Hubei, the outbreak’s epicenter.
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