The 2019 novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19 as per the World Health Organization, has been wreaking havoc all over the world since December last year. As the group of viruses that targets the respiratory system claims the lives of hundreds of people, the race is also on to find the cure.
The WHO recently announced that it needs $675 million in contribution to find the vaccine for the COVID-19 and to stop its spread. This amount will be used for a three-month plan, $60 million of which will be allotted to the agency’s operations and the remaining will be for countries with healthcare systems that are unequipped in handling cases.
Microsoft founder and one of the richest men in the world Bill Gates and wife Melinda are already slashing $100 million of the sum needed through the pair’s eponymous foundation. According to the press release, the donation is to aid in the development of a vaccine, safeguarding of at-risk individuals, and the detection and isolation of those infected.
Previously, the foundation gave $10 million to help curb the outbreak but the recent donation, which included the last figure, will certainly be a huge boost to WHO’s efforts in combating the spread of the disease.
Despite the rising number of infected patients, WHO officials have yet to call the outbreak a pandemic. However, on Jan. 30, it announced that the coronavirus is an international public health emergency, harboring fears from across the nations.
As of writing, there are already 44,000 infected from different countries. The coronavirus, which causes colds, cough, fever, and pneumonia, seemed to be less deadly than its cousins, the severe acute respiratory syndrome and the Middle East respiratory syndrome.
As for the Gates, this wasn’t the first time they have helped fight the spread of disease. In 2009, the couple, who is known for their philanthropic efforts, donated $33 million to battle the tuberculosis outbreak in China.
The following year, Bill and Melinda pledged $10 billion for vaccine research. Coincidentally, it was also in 2010 when the pair, along with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, put up Giving Pledge, an initiative that encourages the wealthy to give majority if not all their fortune to different causes.
Apart from Bill and Melinda, other notable entrepreneurs who have promised contributions for the COVID-19 problem are Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who said he will give $14.4 million for the research on cure and treatment measures, and Lei Jun, Xiaomi CEO, who vowed $1.8 million for the efforts in Hubei, the ground zero of the outbreak and his hometown.