Credit: Alissa Eckert, Dan Higgins / CDC

Let’s reach COVID-Zero. Business can help by funding R&D to overcome the impact of coronavirus 

No individual, business or economy in the world has been left untouched by COVID-19.

It is a huge problem – but a solvable one. Together, by fully funding R&D for testing, treatment and vaccines, we can achieve COVID-Zero: no more preventable deaths, no more lockdowns and no more disruption.

Businesses can change the course of this pandemic

There is an urgent funding shortfall for the scientific research that will bring an end to the current crisis. According to the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, we need to secure an additional $8 billion in the next few weeks. Otherwise, crucial opportunities to accelerate the solution to this crisis will be missed.

COVID-Zero is calling upon businesses to raise $1 billion of this funding shortfall and get all our lives, businesses and economies back on track.

Why businesses should donate to research and development

Globally, most funding is rightly going into coping with the pandemic today – tackling the immediate public health crisis and propping up struggling economies. Global businesses are already doing excellent work in supporting their communities and employees.

However, until we have working tests, treatments and vaccines, there will be future waves of this pandemic with repeated cycles of lockdowns and social distancing. 

Science is our only true long-term exit strategy from the pandemic.

As a business leader, you can further demonstrate your commitment by donating a proportion of the money you are dedicating to coping with the crisis, to helping solve it. 

Funding this urgently needed science will be one of the best investments your business ever makes.

This money will save lives, secure jobs and get the world moving again sooner than any other investment you can make right now. 

Your business can support by doing any or all of these three things:

  • Donate: give funds representing at least 10% of what you are contributing to your crisis management efforts to this crisis resolution plan.
  • Advocate: make your voice heard to governments in the regions and markets where you operate – make sure they know you are doing your part, but you need them to do theirs.
  • Educate: educate and activate your networks – make sure your employees, suppliers and customers understand that you are part of a coalition pledging to achieve COVID-Zero as soon as possible, and why this matters.

Where the money is needed

The biggest funding gap is for researching, developing and scaling up potential vaccines, treatments and tests through CEPI and the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. Additional funding is also needed for bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) who can help ensure these innovations reach the people who need them the most.

  • Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)
    Launched 3 years ago, CEPI, which has 501c3 status in the United States, is supporting multiple vaccine programmes to rapidly develop vaccine candidates against COVID-19. Their ambition is to have at least three viable vaccines that could be licensed for use and available through a globally fair allocation system.
  • COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator
    Launched by Wellcome, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Mastercard Impact Fund, the accelerator aims to speed up the development of affordable treatments that are easily accessible for everyone, particularly the most vulnerable populations. The accelerator plans to find a treatment that can be delivered to 100 million people by the end of the year.
  • Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) 
    FIND is a global non-profit organisation driving innovation in the development and delivery of equitable diagnostics to combat major diseases. They are coordinating the development of diagnostics for COVID-19, including diagnostic tests and simple technical platforms.
  • World Health Organization Solidarity Response Fund
    The WHO is leading and coordinating the global response to this crisis. They are supporting countries with fragile health systems to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic.

Private sector support for research and development to date

By donating to research and development, your business or corporate foundation will be in good company.   

Some international businesses have already stepped up to fill the $8 billion shortfall.  

Mastercard is a founding partner of the COVID-19 Therapeutics AcceleratorCEPI has received donations from the investment firm Citadel and gaming company Ndemic Creations. And the WHO Solidarity Response Fund has received donations from numerous private sector organisations including HSBC, Nike and Johnson & Johnson.  

The most recent donors joining COVID-Zero areAvast, Advent International, General Catalyst, Nigel Blackwell, The Duff & Phelps Charitable Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Derwent London, A Collected Man, Danske Bank Foundation, TPG-Global, Deerfield Foundation and Atomico.

How much have businesses and philanthropies pledged?

How would the initial $8 billion be spent?

This is how the funding will be spent:

  • $1 billion – to fully fund the WHO to support preparedness and emergency response
  • $250 million – for regional surveillance and control efforts
  • $2 billion – to develop vaccines
  • $1.5 billion – to develop therapeutics
  • $0.5 billion – to develop diagnostics
  • $1 billion – for manufacturing and delivery of therapeutics and diagnostics
  • $1 billion – to support manufacturing and delivery of vaccines
  • $0.75 billion – to stockpile COVID-19 vaccines and personal protective equipment

Join the COVID-Zero coalition today

We know times are hard for everyone, but by pulling together to support the science, we can get the world back in business.

To play your part in the COVID-Zero coalition, or to find out more about what it involves, please contact us at covidzero@wellcome.org.

You can also read the FAQs and download the investor pack.