Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates will give another $70 million to the development and eventual distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, their foundation announced on Thursday.
Melinda Gates, who co-chairs the Gates Foundation, plans to announce the additional funding at the Paris Peace Forum, where international organizations are meeting to discuss responses to the pandemic.
The Gates Foundation will provide another $50 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which is run by the GAVI vaccine alliance and aims to provide access to vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries.
Another $20 million will go to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which co-funds several vaccine efforts as they go through trials and the approval process.
“COVID-19 anywhere is COVID-19 everywhere,” Melinda Gates said in a statement. “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.”
“Our pledge today, alongside the generous commitments made by France, the European Commission, and Spain, means we are getting closer to having the resources needed to help the world fight this virus,” she added. “But we still have a long way to go.”
Thursday’s announcement brings the Gates Foundation’s total contribution to COVAX AMC to $156 million, as the philanthropists hope their donation will inspire other international donors. The foundation’s contribution also unlocked an additional $16.2 million from the U.K. government.
GAVI said COVAX set a goal of getting 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of next year, making almost half available to poorer countries, Reuters reported.
The World Health Organization is working with CEPI and GAVI on the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, an effort to provide fair access to coronavirus drugs and vaccines.
The donation comes after Pfizer announced earlier this week that its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective.