Gates Foundation puts another $150 million toward global coronavirus response

Gates Foundation puts another $150 million toward global coronavirus response
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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, announced Wednesday that their private foundation will put an additional $150 million toward coronavirus relief efforts around the world. 

The donation builds on their foundation's previous commitment of $100 million, and will be directed to international efforts to develop diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said in a statement.

The funding will also go toward "new efforts to provide partners in Africa and South Asia with resources to scale their COVID-19 detection, treatment and isolation efforts."

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Bill and Melinda Gates coupled the donation with a call for global leaders to unify as they address issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 2 million people worldwide. The call came just hours after Bill Gates denounced President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE's decision to halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) over its handling of the outbreak. 

“COVID-19 doesn’t obey border laws. Even if most countries succeed in slowing the disease over the next few months, the virus could return if the pandemic remains severe enough elsewhere,” Gates said in a statement. “The world community must understand that so long as COVID-19 is somewhere, we need to act as if it were everywhere. Beating this pandemic will require an unprecedented level of international funding and cooperation."

Trump on Tuesday announced that the administration would suspend funding for the WHO pending a review of the agency's "role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus."

Gates said in a tweet on Wednesday that halting funding for the body during the middle of a crisis "is as dangerous as it sounds."

"Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them," he said. 

The billionaire philanthropist has committed hundreds of millions of dollars in investments toward fighting infectious diseases around the world. He and his wife's foundation said this next phase of funding will be focused on accelerating virus detection, protecting "the most vulnerable," minimizing social and economic impact and developing products for a sustained response.  

Gates has been outspoken about the need for social-distancing requirements amid the outbreak. He said last month that the U.S. should be prepared to experience "pain in the economic dimension ... in order to minimize the pain in the diseases-and-death dimension."