It is ‘the best investment your business can make’, says medical research charity
The Wellcome Trust is calling on big businesses to donate $8bn (£6.4bn) for research into developing diagnostic tests, therapies and vaccines to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Jeremy Farrar, the director of the London-based medical research charity, said a huge investment in scientific research was “the only exit strategy” to save millions of lives and drag the global economy out of an inevitable recession.
Farrar said that while businesses and governments had acted fast to help support staff and keep the global economy ticking along, the only long-term solution was to quickly develop vaccines and treatments.
“The only exit strategy for this that I see is the development of diagnostics, therapies and vaccines,” he said. “That’s the only way we can return to normal.”
On a conference call later on Tuesday, Farrar will tell the chief executives of the world’s biggest companies that pledging funds to the Covid-Zero fund “is the best investment your business can make today”.
He said: “Businesses and governments are rightly concerned with tackling immediate concerns – how to support staff, keep trading and bolster economies.
But we also need a way out of this pandemic as fast as possible.”
Farrar, who is an infectious disease researcher as well as director of the Wellcome Trust, said: “Drugs, vaccines and rapid diagnostics are the only way we have of saving lives, bringing this pandemic to an end and preventing it reappearing. This is the only exit strategy – but we do not have the funding we need to execute it.”