Volume 88 Issue 6 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: February 8, 2010

Philanthropy Gates Pledges $10 Billion For Vaccine Research And Distribution In Poor Countries

Department: Business
Keywords: funding, vaccines, Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $10 billion over 10 years to support vaccine R&D and the delivery of new vaccines—for ailments such as malaria, diarrheal diseases, and tuberculosis—to the world’s poorest countries. This latest round of funding comes on top of $4.5 billion that the foundation has already given to this cause.

“Vaccines already save and improve millions of lives in developing countries,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates said at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 29. “Innovation will make it possible to save more children than ever before.” He called on governments and the private sector to invest in R&D and immunization programs.

In announcing the funding, Melinda Gates pointed to record rates of vaccinations in the developing world and dramatic decreases in deaths from preventable diseases, such as measles. She also noted advances in vaccine development, with more candidates reaching late-stage clinical trials and new vaccines for severe diarrhea and pneumonia becoming available.

The Gates organization has not yet specified how and where the latest funds are to be distributed. Significant amounts are expected to go to existing foundation partners, including the GAVI Alliance, which distributes vaccines, and PATH, an organization that coordinates public and private vaccine-development efforts.

In welcoming the pledge, World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said that “an additional 2 million deaths in children under five years could be prevented by 2015 through widespread use of new vaccines and a 10% increase in global vaccination coverage.”

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