Gates Foundation Entire Focus Now On Fighting COVID-19: Barron's

Gates Foundation Entire Focus Now On Fighting COVID-19: Barron's

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now entirely focussed on fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

What Happened

The Gates Foundation has committed $250 million to the fight against COVID-19, but the scope of the battle has now broadened. According to the Foundation's Co-Chair Bill Gates, the “total attention” of the organization, which had an endowment of $47.4 billion at the end of 2018, is on dealing with the pandemic, reported Barron’s Penta.

In a statement released April 15, the Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to fight infectious diseases, and stated it would leverage a part of its $2.5 billion strategic investment fund, which uses a suite of financial tools to “address market failures and incentivize private enterprise to develop affordable and accessible health products.”

Explaining the Foundation's shift of focus to COVID-19, Gates told the Financial Times, “We’ve taken an organization that was focused on HIV and malaria and polio eradication, and almost entirely shifted it to work on this.”

Why It Matters

According to Barron’s, it is no surprise that the Gates Foundation has emerged a leader in the fight against the pandemic, as more than half its resources go to defeating infectious diseases. As of 2018, the Foundation had donated $585 million, or 76% of all its philanthropic grants, toward public health.

Money from the $2.5 billion strategic investment fund could be used by health care systems in low-and middle-income countries to facilitate “rapid procurement” of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, COVID-19 diagnostics, and other related medical supplies, according to the Foundation.

Talking about the need to fight COVID-19 aggressively, Gates said, “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.”

The Microsoft Corporation MSFT founder cautioned, “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.”

The foundation has acknowledged that the fight against the pandemic will require more resources than any contributor can garner. It has called on governments, organizations such as the World Health Organization, and private companies, to get involved in funding the “at-risk manufacturing” of a vaccine and ensure it is accessible to the entire global population.

On Tuesday, global COVID-19 cases topped the 3 million mark, with 211,170 deaths reported, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Photo Credit: Kuhlmann via Wikimedia.

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