Wellcome pledges £10 million to tackle COVID-19 epidemic

Wellcome is making a pledge of up to £10 million to accelerate research and support global efforts to tackle the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

People wearing surgical masks sitting in subway in Shanghai, China.

Credit: Robert Wei / iStock

COVID-19 has infected thousands of people in China and spread to a number of other countries.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, said: "This virus is spreading at unprecedented scale with cases passing between people in multiple countries across the world. We know this is going to be challenging to control, but many unknowns and uncertainties remain. 

"Accelerating research to build knowledge and inform the global response is critical to protecting health, saving lives and ending this epidemic. Wellcome is pledging up to £10m to support urgently needed research."

Research funding to address the COVID-19 epidemic

Wellcome has launched an Epidemic Preparedness: COVID-19 funding call which:

  • aims to strengthen the evidence base to better prevent and control coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemics and to increase research and response capacity
  • covers areas such as clinical research, treatments, pathogenesis of infection, epidemiology, and social sciences and ethics.

The call provides flexible funding of up to £2 million. Awards can last up to 2 years.

It's part of an existing partnership between Wellcome and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through the Joint Initiative on Research in Epidemic Preparedness and Response to help low- and middle-income countries prepare for and tackle epidemics. 

Jeremy Farrar added: "The only way to get ahead of this epidemic, to ensure the best public health preparation and response, and to protect lives globally is to put science and research at the heart of the response. Over the past two days the global effort to further enhance the research agenda has been phenomenal. 

“Thanks to the World Health Organization, to researchers, country governments, industry, journal editors and funders from every country and continent we now have a clear plan of immediate and longer-term priorities to build a robust global response. Crucially there is unambiguous commitment to solidarity and to equitable access to all advances made.

“We must continue to unite behind this international effort, making sure no country is left behind, and without forgetting the support needed for those continuing to tackle the many other health challenges faced by different communities globally, including Ebola.”

More information

For general enquiries contact epidemics@wellcome.ac.uk. For media enquiries contact mediaoffice@wellcome.ac.uk

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