Global health fund calls for $8 billion to begin COVID-19 exit strategy
- 07 April 2020
A leading global health fund has asked international businesses and governments to provide $8 billion to support development and production of COVID-19 tests, drugs and vaccines, APA reports citing Reuters.
British-based Wellcome Trust said the initiative, dubbed COVID-Zero, is aimed at the private sector and it is urging chief executives of multinational companies to join the coalition and save lives.
An initial $8 billion by the end of April - a fraction of the sums wealthy governments have injected into struggling economies - would be enough to develop new COVID-19 tests, drugs and vaccines and to begin scaling up production, the fund said.
“This is a global issue that will continue to plague the world and businesses for months, if not years, to come,” said Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome’s director.
“We want business leaders to give a small proportion of the money they are dedicating to coping with this crisis to solving it. We hope that governments will follow their example.”
Wellcome says that $2 billion of the initial $8 billion needed would be used to help poorer and more vulnerable countries to build a stockpile of masks, medicines and other defences against future outbreaks.
The COVID-19 disease pandemic has triggered a sharp downturn in an already slowing global economy and sparked a rout across financial markets, wiping about $15 trillion from stock markets alone.
More than 1.32 million people have been reported infected by the novel coronavirus and 74,087 have died.
A Reuters snap poll of more 50 economists in North America, Europe and Asia over April 1-3 showed that the global economy is expected to contract by 1.2% this year, compared with a forecast of 1.6% expansion in a poll three weeks ago.
Scientists around the world are working to develop vaccines and test existing drugs that could be potential treatments for COVID-19 while also seeking to improve diagnostic tests.