Relentless pursuit of an equitable world

The Optimist


Perspectives on the global response to the 2019 novel coronavirus

Coronavirus healthcare workers in protective gear

Twenty years in the making: The foundation's response to COVID-19

By Mark Suzman

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With a pandemic bringing painful human, social, and economic costs, it’s not a time for celebration. But it does feel that the investments we’ve made, expertise we’ve built, and experience we’ve gained over the last two decades has prepared us for this moment.

From day one, the foundation has embraced a data-led, evidence-based approach to improving health, reducing poverty, and expanding opportunity. We rely on scientific and technical expertise. Together, these building blocks mean that in addition to our financial resources, we have the capacity and capability to play a significant role in the COVID-19 response.

This is a unique situation; we are in a unique position to help. And today, we are announcing additional funding of $150 million that brings our total commitment so far to more than $250 million.

Read the full article ›



From the Experts




COVID-19 Announcements

April 15, 2020

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Expands Commitment to Global COVID-19 Response, Calls for International Collaboration to Protect People Everywhere from the Virus: Additional funding brings foundation commitment to more than $250 million to support development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; help strengthen African and South Asian health systems; and help mitigate the social and economic impacts of the virus.

March 30, 2020

COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Awards $20 Million in Initial Grants to Fund Clinical Trials: Partners in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator announced grants of $20 million to three institutions—the University of Washington, University of Oxford, and La Jolla Institute for Immunology—to fund clinical trials in order to identify highly potent immunotherapies for the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants mark the first investments to come from the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.

March 25, 2020

Life Sciences Companies Commit Expertise and Assets to the Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic Alongside Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation along with a consortium of life sciences companies announced an important collaboration to accelerate the development, manufacture, and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for COVID-19. The life sciences industry brings a range of assets, resources, and expertise needed to identify effective and scalable solutions to the pandemic, which is affecting billions worldwide.



March 10, 2020

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard Launch Initiative to Speed Development and Access to Therapies for COVID-19: The Gates Foundation and Wellcome are each contributing up to $50 million, and the Mastercard Impact Fund has committed up to $25 million to catalyze the initial work of the accelerator. The Gates Foundation’s funding is part of its up to $100 million commitment to the COVID-19 response announced last month.

March 4, 2020

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Commits $5 Million to Help Public Health Agencies in Greater Seattle Area Respond to COVID-19: The foundation will work in coordination with Public Health-Seattle & King County, the Washington State Department of Health, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help them enhance their capacity to detect and treat COVID-19 and guide public health efforts to reduce transmission. Part of this effort will explore how the resources of the Seattle Flu Study could be pivoted toward emergency efforts to monitor and respond to COVID-19.

February 5, 2020

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Dedicates Additional Funding to the Novel Coronavirus Response: The foundation will provide up to $100 million to improve detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations in Africa and South Asia; and accelerate the development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics.

January 26, 2020

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Commits $10 Million to Global Response to 2019-nCOV: The foundation is committing $5 million to the 2019-nCoV response in China and is already working with a range of Chinese public and private sector partners to accelerate national and international cooperation in areas of critical need, including efforts to identify and confirm cases, safely isolate and care for patients and accelerate the development of treatments and vaccines.