The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is at it again, trying to save the world.
The organization has started a new initiative to partner with world leaders to better prepare the world to tackle the next big epidemics. So far, with the help of governments in Germany, Japan, and Norway, the foundation has been able to raise $490 million of their $1 billion goal.
"Ebola and Zika showed that the world is tragically unprepared to detect local outbreaks and respond quickly enough to prevent them from becoming global pandemics," said Bill Gates in a statement. "Without investments in research and development, we will remain unequipped when we face the next threat."
The effort is called the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the plan is to begin by targeting such viruses as MERS-CoV, Lassa, and Nipah. Vaccinations are the key to stopping these epidemics from happening and the best tool to use in the fight should one start. CEPI is hoping to develop two vaccines for each virus.
According to Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of Doctors Without Borders, "For new vaccines to be game changers, they must be developed and tested before outbreaks hit and made accessible and affordable for all communities in times of health crisis."
Vaccines save lives. Millions of deaths have been prevented thanks to their development and successful deployment. Diseases that have killed countless people through the ages have been eradicated, and many more are on the radar. Hopefully, through the work of CEPI and the countries that support it, we'll be able to add some new viruses to the list of those that are no longer a threat.