By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Up to $100 million will be donated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the global response to the 2019-novel coronavirus, it announced on Monday.
The funding will help in beefing up detection, isolation, and treatment of patients, protect at-risk populations, and develop vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics.
This funding is inclusive of the $10 million that the foundation pledged to the outbreak in January.
“Multilateral organizations, national governments, the private sector and philanthropies must work together to slow the pace of the outbreak, help countries protect their most vulnerable citizens, and accelerate the development of the tools to bring this epidemic under control,” Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said in a statement.
“Our hope is that these resources will help catalyze a rapid and effective international response. This response should be guided by science, not fear, and it should build on the steps that the World Health Organization has taken to date,” he added.
With aims of interrupting transmission of the virus and containing the disease, the foundation said $20 million of the fund will be used to accelerate the detection, isolation, and treatment of patients.
The fund will help multilateral organizations and national public health authorities to acquire resources to find out where they can most successfully arrest the spread of the disease.
It will also aid public health authorities in covering the initial cost of labor and supplies while appropriate resources are being appropriated to fund ongoing operations.
This portion of the donation will be allocated to organizations such as the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and public health authorities of countries with confirmed 2019-nCoV cases.
Another $20 million of the donation will be used to help strengthen the emergency operations centers of Africa and South Asia.
The foundation said that recent epidemics, like the H1N1 influenza epidemic in 2009, had a disproportionate impact on the said regions since majority of its populations live in extreme poverty and have limited access to quality health care.
The remaining $60 million of the fund will be used to develop safe, effective, and accessible vaccines and therapeutics.
Latest data from WHO showed that the deadly virus that originated from Wuhan, China has already infected 24,000 people worldwide and killed almost 500 people in China.
A crew member aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off the port of Yokohama, Japan became the first Filipino to test positive for the 2019-nCoV, Japan health officials confirmed.
The Department of Health also confirmed that the Philippines has three recorded cases of the 2019-nCoV, all of which came from Wuhan, China.
One of them, a 44-year-old man, died on February 1, and became the first reported 2019-nCoV fatality outside of China.