London-based Wellcome has announced new investments of up to $100 million in support of efforts to accelerate research and development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and stand up the global systems needed to identify and track mutations.
The total includes up to $70 million in support of Wellcome’s work to advance treatments and vaccines as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator global partnership, for which Wellcome serves as therapeutics co-lead. The ACT Accelerator currently faces a $22.1 billion global funding gap.
Building on existing Wellcome partnerships with researchers in Africa and Asia and supporting ongoing in-country and World Health Organization-coordinated global virus-sequencing efforts, the remaining $30 million will support SARS-CoV-2 tracking research in low- and middle-income countries.
“Science has made staggering progress. The first vaccines, treatments, and clinical advances are saving lives and allowing some countries to, tentatively, start lifting lockdown restrictions,” said Wellcome director Jeremy Farrar. “But that progress is at considerable risk of reversing. More funding is vital to develop the range of treatments and vaccines the world needs, and to make sure these, and those we already have, are fairly and equally available in all countries.”