New Global Coalition Will Fight Epidemics

A coalition of private donors, governments and drug companies has raised nearly $500 million to launch a program to fight epidemics before they grow out of control.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations will initially create and stockpile vaccines against three dangerous viruses and support development of new ways to produce large amounts of vaccine when new epidemic threats arise, The New York Times reported.

The coalition includes the Gates Foundation, the governments of Japan and Norway, Britain's Wellcome Trust, the World Health Organization, and six major vaccine makers. Germany, India and the European Commission are also expected to become involved.

The coalition, which will eventually need billions of dollars to achieve its goals, was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The announcement was welcomed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"I've been pushing for a global health emergency fund for years, and half a billion dollars is a good start," he told The Times.

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