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Int’l foundations pledge $300m for COVID-19 response, epidemic preparedness

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
20 January 2022   |   3:17 am
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Wellcome Trust have both pledged $300 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for COVID-19 pandemic response.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Wellcome Trust have both pledged $300 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for COVID-19 pandemic response.

They also called on world leaders to support CEPI in ending COVID-19 crisis and prepare for future threats. CEPI is a global partnership launched five years ago by the governments of Norway and India, the Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and the World Economic Forum.

A statement by BMGF noted that the pledge comes ahead of a global replenishment conference in March to support CEPI’s visionary five-year plan to better prepare for, prevent, and equitably respond to future epidemics and pandemics.

Co-chair of the Foundation, Bill Gates, said: “Our work over the past 20 years has taught us that early investment in research and development can save lives and prevent worst-case scenarios. Five years ago, following the Ebola and Zika epidemics, our foundation helped launch CEPI. Today, we’re increasing our commitment and pledging an additional $150 million to help CEPI accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines against emerging variants of the coronavirus and prepare for, and possibly even prevent, the next pandemic.”

On his part, Director of Wellcome, Dr. Jeremy Farrar, said: “Our new commitment of $150 million recognises the enormous potential CEPI has to protect lives against emerging infectious diseases. We urge leaders to provide their support and ensure that CEPI reaches its funding target.”

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