The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be providing funding for factories to develop seven potential vaccines for COVID-19, Bill Gates said in an interview on The Daily Show.
Gates does not expect to move forward with all seven vaccines.
"Even though we'll end up picking at most two of them, we're going to fund factories for all seven, just so that we don't waste time in serially saying, 'OK, which vaccine works?' and then building the factory," Gates said.
"It’ll be a few billion dollars we’ll waste on manufacturing for the constructs that don’t get picked because something else is better," he added. "But a few billion in the situation we’re in, where there’s trillions of dollars ... being lost, economically, it is worth it."
A vaccine for COVID-19 is necessary in order to develop widespread immunity against the infection for the world’s population. A vaccine might not be ready for well over 18 months. The first human test of a coronavirus vaccine took place in Seattle, Washington last month. About 35 companies and academic institutions have been working on a vaccine, and four of them have begun testing vaccines on animals, according to the Guardian.
The virus' genome has been mapped and that map has been shared globally to facilitate research on tests and vaccines for the virus, according to the World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $100 million to mitigating the COVID-19 outbreak, including providing funding for a potential coronavirus vaccine that is set to begin human trials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Kansas City, Missouri.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a major funder of global public health causes over the years. Gates even warned of the danger of a viral outbreak during a 2015 Ted Talk.
Worldwide, there have been nearly 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 67,670 deaths, according to the WHO.
Disclosure: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen.
Editor's note: This piece has been updated to include a disclosure that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen. We regret the oversight.