WASHINGTON, D.C., and SEATTLE (May 12, 2022) – Today, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced a new financial commitment of up to US$125 million to help end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future pandemics. In remarks made remotely at the Global COVID-19 Summit, Gates said the new funding will go toward strengthening health systems in low-income countries, enhancing integrated disease monitoring, expanding access to pandemic tools, and helping countries manage COVID-19 alongside other pressing health needs.
This new funding will build on the more than US$2 billion that the foundation has already committed to global COVID-19 response since the start of the pandemic, to advance health equity. To date, those funds have gone toward increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries, accelerating research to develop treatments and tests, contributing to improving regulatory systems, supporting manufacturing, and prioritizing equitable product delivery.
“Our ability to avoid pandemics years down the road depends on the actions we take now,” said Gates. “The world can’t wait until a new virus emerges. We need to start preparing immediately. And we need to do so with a focus on the people most at risk and the countries most often left behind.”
“The world was not ready for this pandemic, but we know how to prevent the next one,” said Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation. “Every sector has a role to play in achieving global health security, and the foundation is calling on countries and other funders to make the investments needed to create a safer, more equitable world.”
Strong disease surveillance systems are critical to effectively identifying and monitoring the spread of emerging infectious diseases. As part of this new commitment, the foundation will fund the advancement of global, regional, and country-level integrated disease surveillance to ensure that all countries—particularly low- and middle-income countries—have the core capabilities to respond faster and more effectively to the next pandemic threat.
The new funding will also help build the capacity of vaccine manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries to accelerate the development and equitable delivery of safe and effective vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics in the event of a future pandemic. This will, in turn, help countries improve their capacity to address endemic infectious diseases and respond to emerging pathogens.
The Gates Foundation has long supported vaccine manufacturers—in both the public and private sectors—in countries such as India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, South Africa, and Brazil. The unique capacity of these manufacturers to produce life-saving vaccines on a large scale has dramatically improved health around the world by addressing a range of diseases, including meningitis A, rotavirus, and now COVID-19.
The new funding will help address access barriers to innovations such as mRNA vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.
It will also support ongoing foundation investments in strengthening health systems and global health security, which are part of the foundation’s longstanding commitment to improving health equity.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and the board of trustees.