Gates to Donate $10 Billion to Vaccine Development

Amidst growing concerns of the global recession and other competing government issues affecting the development of disease control, Bill and Melinda Gates have vowed to pump $10 Billion into vaccine development and delivery.

The announcement came from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, and the money marks an increase from the roughly $800 million the Gates’ already spent annually on the cause.

“Hopefully we’ll have some breakthroughs,” Bill Gates said in an interview this week, pointing to funding from his foundation aimed at finding a vaccine for malaria.

Gates donates the money along with a call for more investment from donors, and comes with growing concern from the World Health Organization and other health groups that the distribution of promising new vaccines and the prohibition of diseases like Polio to spread will decrease because of shortfalls in funding.

Those concerns are spot-on, as health officials start rolling out new vaccines that prevent rotavirus, a cause of severe diarrhea, and pneumococcal disease. The new vaccines are fueling concerns in developing countries with the startling amount of decrepit primary health care systems that are already struggling with how to deliver existing vaccines. Many African countries, for instance, lack the refrigeration needed to keep vaccines fresh while they are being stored and transported.

The Gates Foundation currently stands as the world’s largest private philanthropy, with a staggering endowment of $34 billion, and has spent about $4.5 billion on vaccine work. The announcement follows a public letter this week in which Gates highlighted the need for governments to not cut their foreign aid amid broader budget and debt pressures.  Way to tell ‘em, Bill.