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The Gates Foundation invests $ 120 million for access to the anti-Covid pill

2021-10-20T08:46:54.599Z

This treatment, currently being evaluated by the FDA, is an alternative for countries with limited access to vaccination.



The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday announced an investment of up to $ 120 million to facilitate poor countries' access to promising treatment for Covid-19 in pill form.

The American laboratory Merck has developed a drug, molnupiravir, which greatly reduces the risk of hospitalization and death when taken in the first days of infection.

This treatment with tablets, which is therefore easy to administer, offers a much awaited alternative to vaccines, in particular for countries experiencing difficulties in accessing the latter.

Its authorization is currently under evaluation by the United States Medicines Agency (FDA).

Read alsoThe United States could authorize "mixtures" of vaccines for the anti-Covid booster

The money invested by the Gates Foundation will be used in particular to encourage the production of generics of the drug by companies, particularly Indian companies, to which Merck has already granted a license.

10 million doses by the end of 2021

Merck plans to manufacture the doses needed for 10 million treatments by the end of the year.

But much of it risks going back to rich countries, as it did with vaccines.

“The global supply (of vaccines) has been bought by the rich countries,” Trevor Mundel, president of the foundation's global health division, told AFP.

"We have to prevent this from happening again."

Some generics "have said they can easily produce 10 million treatments per month, but the problem is they probably won't do that until they see what the demand is and who will pay," he explained.

"This is what we want to speed up, we don't want them to wait."

The Gates Foundation has also enabled the development of a "simpler and more profitable" technique to manufacture this drug, which has been shared with generic manufacturers.

It also plans to invest part of the money in communication programs around the use of this drug, so that it is known in these countries and that it is used appropriately.

At the end of 2020, the foundation employed more than 1,700 people working on 41 strategic programs.

Over 2,000 grants have been disbursed to nearly 1,400 beneficiaries.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2021-10-20

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