An additional grant of $250 million was pledged by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this week for the purpose of supporting the development and distribution of Covid-19 treatments and vaccines that were of low costs and were much easier to distribute and deliver to the common people.
This latest contribution to the cause is the largest yet made by the Gates Foundation towards fighting the pandemic and searching of treatments and a vaccine. The Gates Foundation had previously given out another additional funding of $70 million to the cause in November. The foundation said that with this latest contribution, the total commitment made by it to fight the global pandemic has reached a total of $1.75 billion.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation said that the actions taken by the world’s leaders and the commitment that they make for delivering tests, treatments and vaccines to the people who actually needed them will determine whether the world is able to get better for everyone and to get rid of the pandemic.
The foundation added that the delivery of tests and vaccines in low and middle income countries will be supported by the latest contribution from it.
The first country in the world to approve and roll out a Covid-19 vaccination program was the United Kingdom where the first vaccine shot to any member of the public was given to a 90 year old grandmother on Thursday. The health regulator of the country has granted emergency use permission for the Covid-19 vaccine developed jointly by pharma giant Pfizer and bio technology firm BioNTech.
The same Pfizer- BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was also approved by Canadian regulators on Wednesday. And according to the latest communication by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States, the Pfizer- BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine had met the expectations of the regulator with regards to emergency use authorization.
Bur while the richer countries are approving the emergency use of the Pfizer- BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, it also poses a number of challenges especially for the lower income countries since the vaccine has to be stored, transported and delivered at ultra low temperatures and therefore requires specialised cold storage facilities. The Pfizer- BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine needs to be stored at a temperature of at least minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94°F) which is significantly lower than the standard storage temperatures for most other vaccines at between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (36-46°F).
“We have new drugs and more potential vaccines than we could have expected at the start of the year. But these innovations will only save lives if they get out into the world,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation.
An application for emergency use approval has also been sought from regualtors iun eth United States and the European Union by another US based drug maker Moderna Inc. This pharma giant has said that the vaccine developed by it has displayed 94.5 per cent efficacy in an interim analysis.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)