Charities pledge £100m for coronavirus research

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The money will be used to speed up the development of treatments.

11th March 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Two charities have teamed up with Mastercard to create a fund of almost £100 million to speed up the development of coronavirus treatments.

The Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have each pledged $50m (£38.7m) to the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator project, while the Mastercard Impact Fund is committing $25m (£19.3).

The money will be used in the short term to develop treatments, vaccines and drugs to treat patients with Covid-19, and in the long term to tackle other viral pathogens.

Funding is being made on an equal access basis, ensuring treatments are accessible and affordable to everyone.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome, said: “This virus is an unprecedented global threat, and one for which we must propel international partnerships to develop treatments, rapid diagnostics, and vaccines. 

"Science is moving at a phenomenal pace against Covid-19, but to get ahead of this epidemic we need greater investment and to ensure research coordination. The Therapeutics Accelerator will allow us to do this for potential treatments with support for research, development, assessment and manufacturing.

"Investing now, at scale, at risk and as a collective global effort is vital if we are to change the course of this epidemic. We welcome others to join us in this effort."

The Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will work closely with the World Health Organization, government and private sector funders, and global regulatory and policy-setting institutions.

“Viruses like Covid-19 spread rapidly, but the development of vaccines and treatments to stop them moves slowly,” said Mark Suzman, chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“If we want to make the world safe from outbreaks like Covid-19, particularly for those most vulnerable, then we need to find a way to make research and development move faster. That requires governments, private enterprise, and philanthropic organizations to act quickly to fund R&D.”