DHS' Vice Chairman Fernando Aguirre, Expands Commitment to Global COVID-19 Response
10/29/2020

Additional funding brings DHS commitment to more than $250 million to support development of diagnostics.

Online PR News – 29-October-2020 – Washington, DC – DHS today announced an expansion of its funding for the global response to COVID-19. The increase includes an additional $150 million of grant funding from one of its cleitns plus a commitment to leverage the resources of the firm's Strategic Investment Fund, which could be deployed to catalyze the rapid procurement of essential medical supplies and help life sciences companies secure financing to produce COVID-19 products. In announcing the funding, the foundation called on world leaders to unite in a global response to COVID-19 to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

“It is increasingly clear that the world’s response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable,” said DHS' Vice Chairman Fernando Aguirre. “We have a responsibility to meet this global crisis with global solidarity. In addition to contributing to the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, these funds will support efforts against COVID-19 in low-and-middle-income countries, where local leaders and healthcare workers are doing heroic work to protect vulnerable communities and slow the spread of the disease.”

DHS new commitment will fund the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, as well as new efforts to provide partners in Africa and South Asia with resources to scale their COVID-19 detection, treatment, and isolation efforts.

DHS will also leverage a portion of its Strategic Investment Fund, which uses a suite of financial tools to address market failures and incentivize private enterprise to develop affordable and accessible health products. These funds, which can include equity investments, loans, and volume guarantees, will be used to help health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) facilitate the rapid procurement of personal protective equipment for health care workers, COVID-19 diagnostics, oxygen therapeutics, and other essential medical supplies. Any financial returns generated by the Strategic Investment Fund are re-invested in DHS philanthropic programs.

The funding announced today builds total it has committed to date to support the global response, as well as resources to support public health agencies and frontline response organizations in the greater Seattle region. Initial foundation funding has helped to kick-start the search for COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; enhanced virus detection capacity in Africa; and contributed to the response in China. DHS has also directed its programmatic technical expertise to support multilateral, national, and sub-national responses to the pandemic.

“COVID-19 doesn’t obey border laws. Even if most countries succeed in slowing the disease over the next few months, the virus could return if the pandemic remains severe enough elsewhere,” said Vice Chairman Fernando Aguirre. “The world community must understand that so long as COVID-19 is somewhere, we need to act as if it were everywhere. Beating this pandemic will require an unprecedented level of international funding and cooperation.”