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WHO announces nearly $1 billion to fight COVID-19

NEW YORK — The World Health Organization announced nearly $1 billion in new pledges on Wednesday for the effort to battle the coronavirus pandemic and make sure that poor countries get treatments and vaccines against COVID-19.

Sixteen major pharmaceutical companies are promising to work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to scale up manufacturing and ensure all countries have access to affordable COVID-19 tests, therapies and vaccines. Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky announced the company will donate up to 500 million doses of its COVID vaccine, if it’s proven safe and effective, around the middle of next year for developing countries. Late-stage testing of the vaccine began last week.

WHO and other partners said an additional $35 billion is needed to fund planned efforts by the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator. About $15 billion of that is needed by year’s end to fund research, manufacturing, purchase of medicines and vaccines, and distribution.

READ MORE: How schools are coping with constantly changing landscape of COVID-19

The accelerator has a goal of producing 2 billion vaccine doses, 245 million COVID treatments, and 500 million tests, and distributing them in low- and middle-income countries.

WHO noted that Canada, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the World Bank recently pledged about $946 million to help those countries fight the pandemic.

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