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Bill Gates Vows To Spend Billions To Develop A COVID-19 Vaccine: 'Our Early Money Can Accelerate Things'

SEATTLE (CBS Local) -- Microsoft co-founder and philanthropic billionaire Bill Gates says his foundation will invest billions to fund factories that will develop a vaccine to stop COVID-19.

The news comes just as a second coronavirus vaccine trial by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, begins testing in humans, CBS affiliate KIRO reported.

"Our foundation is trying to be as helpful in a very constructive way as possible. And that's why I've talked to the head of the pharmaceutical companies. We've talked to a lot of the agencies, including CDC and NIH about how we work together on the vaccine and the drugs," Gates told CBS This Morning's Anthony Mason last week.

Gates' foundation has already donated $100 million to fight the virus. However a vaccine, he says, is the only thing that will allow us to return to normal.

That's why in the race to develop a vaccine to combat the coronavirus, Gates said the foundation will spend billions of dollars to fund the construction of factories to develop a vaccine to combat the novel virus. This all before even seeing conclusive data.

To get to the best case of getting a vaccine to the public in 18 months, Gates said companies need to scale up manufacturing during testing instead of after.

"Our early money can accelerate things," he told The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. "Of all the vaccine constructs, the seven most promising of those, even though we'll end up picking at most two of them, we're going to fund factories for all seven, and just so that we don't waste time in serially saying, 'Okay, which vaccine works?' And then building the factory."

Gates acknowledged billions of dollars will be lost on the vaccines that don't pan out. But, he said it's worth it because we don't have time to waste -- considering the situation facing the world right now.

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