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Wellcome asks industry for $8bn ’COVID-Zero’ fighting fund

Charity’s initiative aims to provide “full funding” for R&D

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Scientists battling to development vaccines, drugs and tests to banish COVID-19 are around $8bn short of funding – and Wellcome wants companies to step forward and plug the gap.

The medical research charity’s initiative aims to provide “full funding” for R&D so that as quickly as possible the world can reach what it calls ‘COVID-Zero’ – in other words “no more preventable deaths, no more lockdowns and no more disruption”.

Breaking down the $8bn figure – which equates to just $1 for each human on the planet – Wellcome says $2bn is needed for the development of vaccines, $1.5bn to find new therapeutics and $0.5bn for diagnostics, together accounting for half the total.

Another $2bn is earmarked for manufacturing and supply, plus $0.75bn for stockpiling vaccines and personal protective equipment (PPE). The World Health Organisation (WHO) will get $1bn to help support its preparedness and emergency response capacity, with the remaining $250m destined for regional surveillance and control efforts.

Wellcome notes that the drive isn’t only targeted at companies in the health area, as industry across the board will benefit if the national lockdowns can be relaxed and the global economy restarted, and providing funding is the best “exit strategy” for the pandemic. Information about joining the coalition is available here.

So far, only around $1.6bn has been promised, and the charity says companies should be prepared to donate at least 10% of what they are contributing to crisis management efforts, adding it will be “one of the best investments your business ever makes.”

The $8bn number was worked out by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an independent body convened by the WHO and the World Bank. It has been estimated that COVID-19 could cost the global economy at least $1trillion in lost output, or 1.3% of global GDP.

Article by
Phil Taylor

8th April 2020

From: Research

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