The World Health Organization announced Wednesday that a coalition of nations and organizations are contributing $1 billion to assist poorer nations fight the coronavirus.
The two biggest contributors were the United Kingdom and Canada.
The WHO says the “ACT-Accelerator, which was launched just five months ago, is an unprecedented global collaboration of the world’s top international health organizations working together to accelerate the development, production, and equitable delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.”
The WHO said an additional $35 billion is needed to realize its goals of producing 2 billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments and 500 million tests. The WHO is working with the World Bank to secure $12 billion in funding, which has to be first ratified by its shareholders.
The United States government did not contribute to the fund as the government stopped funding the WHO in April.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, however, were among the organizations to contribute to the fund.
“One thing I've learned studying the history of pandemics is that they create a surprising dynamic when it comes to self-interest and altruism,” Bill Gates said. “Pandemics are rare cases where a country’s instinct to help itself is tightly aligned with its instinct to help others. The self-interested thing and the altruistic thing–making sure poor nations have access to vaccines–are one and the same.”
The UK contributed $641 million to help poorer nations in providing support to battle the virus.
“We have a duty to ensure vaccines, treatments and tests for COVID-19 are available to all—stopping the global spread of the pandemic protects the British people and will put humanity on the road to recovery. Collaboration through the ACT-Accelerator is critical to promoting development, production and access for all countries,” said UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.