The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has signed a new joint agreement, along with 16 pharmaceutical companies, to commit to scaling up manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines at "an unprecedented speed" and making sure that approved vaccines reach broad global distribution as early as possible.
"The only way to eliminate the threat of this disease somewhere is to eliminate it everywhere,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates said during a World Health organization briefing.
“The solution is not shaming the rich countries that are doing the natural thing of wanting to protect their people. The solution is to vastly increase the manufacturing capacity so we can cover everyone as soon as possible," Gates said.
The 16 pharmaceutical companies to sign this agreement are AstraZeneca; Bayer; bioMérieux; Boehringer Ingelheim; Bristol Myers Squibb; Eisai; Eli Lilly; Gilead; GSK; Johnson & Johnson; Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada); Merck KGaA; Novartis; Pfizer; Roche; and Sanofi.
"The next component we need for global elimination is the funding to pay for those vaccines. The pharmaceutical industry has already made significant commitments in this area as well. The companies involved in the agreement are committed to using donations for going profits, and using tiered pricing to make their products as affordable as possible," Gates added.