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April 6, 2020, 10:42 a.m. EDT

Bill Gates says he’ll spend billions on coronavirus vaccine development

The Microsoft co-founder said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work to build factories with goals of developing a coronavirus vaccine

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By Jennifer Calfas


Bloomberg News/Landov
Bill Gates will work to build factories with goals of developing a coronavirus vaccine.

Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +1.02%   co-founder Bill Gates said his foundation will spend billions of dollars to fund the construction of factories for the most promising efforts to develop a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus.

Mr. Gates, a billionaire philanthropist who is one the richest people in the world, said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work with seven makers of a possible vaccine to build these factories. Mr. Gates, who announced the efforts in an appearance on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” Thursday, acknowledged that billions of dollars would be wasted on vaccines that won’t pan out.

“Our early money can accelerate things,” Mr. Gates said. “Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven, just so that we don’t waste time in serially saying which vaccine works and then building the factory.”

A representative for the Gates foundation didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment. In March, the foundation announced a $125 million effort to identify and develop treatments for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com

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