The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is donating up to $100 million toward coronavirus relief efforts.
The organization said in a press release on Wednesday the funds will be used to "help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics." It said it will immediately direct up to $20 million to organizations like the WHO, the CDC and public health authorities in China to help strengthen their "virus detection capabilities," as well as their efforts to curb the disease spread.
It will provide as much as $20 million more to help public health authorities in Africa and Southeast Asia to build up their disease relief efforts. It said these regions tend to get hit the hardest by epidemics, since many people there live in extreme poverty and "have limited access to quality primary health care."
It also pledged up to $60 million toward research, development and testing of coronavirus vaccines and treatments. It will divide that money among various research labs across the world to help them develop remedies that are "safe, effective and made widely available."
The WHO said Thursday there are now more than 28,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in China and that more than 500 people in the country have died from the virus so far.