Bill Gates and his foundation are making a major contribution to helping distribute an affordable vaccine

Bill Gates has always been passionate about providing vaccines to the parts of the world that lack resources. On Friday he came through again by announcing that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committing $150 million toward efforts to develop and distribute a low cost COVID-19 vaccine to some of the poorer countries of the world.

According to Vox, this latest financial commitment brings the total Gates has dedicated to the pandemic to around $500 million. He is hoping the funds will keep vaccine costs down to increase accessibility beyond just the wealthier populations. As Gates told Bloomberg, "We're trying to make sure we can end it not just in the rich countries." Gates is working with the Serum Institute, which is the most prolific vaccine producer in the world, to make 100 million doses that would not exceed $3. In general, companies producing the vaccine have agreed to keep the profit margin low."



The affordability will also be influenced by which vaccines prove to be the most effective. There are over 100 vaccines being developed worldwide, and 28 have made it to human trials. The cost will be hire if companies like Moderna and Pfizer provide the best solution, as they are developing RNA vaccines, which typically cost more to produce.

In an interview with WIRED, Gates said, "Because of the way you manufacture them, and the difficulty of scaling up, they are more likely — if they are helpful — to help in the rich countries. They won't be the low-cost, scalable solution for the world at large." There are pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax that are pursuing a more affordable solution so that it would be available to a wider range of economic demographics. He says, "Those are the ones most scalable and low-cost."



The Gates Foundation is also heavily involved in GAVI, a worldwide vaccine alliance, by pledging $1.6 billion dollars to the organization over the next five years. This is on top of the $4 billion has given to GAVI over the past few decades.

Not only is Bill Gates using his fortune to help contain the pandemic, he has also been very outspoken interviewing for what seems to be every news outlet there is. One of his concerns is the involvement from the United States regarding the global scale of the pandemic. He has spoken with multiple high ranking officials in the White House, but the U.S. has yet to show up to any of the GAVI meetings. Gates is hoping this is not a sign of "vaccine nationalism," which is if a country hoards vaccines that could be used to help other parts of the world. It is not so far fetched if you recall how cutthroat people were about toilet paper not too long ago.

With all the time, money and effort Bill Gates is putting into helping the world recover from COVID-19, in the grand scale of things wearing a mask doesn't seem like that much of a sacrifice. Even if you are one of the people who think the whole thing is a hoax or a conspiracy, wear the mask anyway just in the off chance all those doctors and scientists know what they are talking about.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


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Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

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