£280 million donated for COVID-19 research in three months

A study has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a high level of research donations, making the condition the third most funded disease on average by year.


A report from RIFT Research and Development has highlighted the impact of COVID-19 in three and a half months, based on funding donated to fight the pandemic compared to other diseases. The research investigated average annual funding as well atotal funding into other diseases over the last five years.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), £283,935,237 has already been donated to help fund the fight against COVID-19, with a further £48,480,196 pledged – making a total of £332,415,423.

When compared to the total funding of other diseases over the last five years, only five conditions have seen a larger total level of funding than COVID-19. These are HIV (£4.7 billion), tuberculosis (£2.3 billion), P. falciparum or human malaria (£1.2 billion), other multiple strains of Malaria (£885.1 million) and dengue virus (£345 million).

The researchers say that when looking at the average funding of all diseases over the last five years, funding in the fight against COVID-19 climbs even higher up the table.

In the last five years, the average annual funding against HIV and AIDS is £936.9 million, while tuberculosis has seen average annual funding of £471.1 million.  

Despite the first reports of COVID-19 from China to the WHO arriving on 31 December 2019, the funding received places it third in the table when compared to the average annual funding of other diseasein the last five years.

Director of RIFT Research and Development, Sarah Collins, commented: “Anyone in any doubt over the seriousness of the current pandemic need only look at the sheer level of funding already committed in the fight against it. It is really quite staggering that in just three and a half short months, funding in the fight against COVID-19 has eclipsed total funding in the last five years for all but five other diseases. 

The positive to take is the huge collective effort in fighting the spread of the coronavirus, with some great R&D success stories in particular. We’ve seen car manufacturers help with the construction of ventilators and delivery of other medical supplies, gin distilleries pivoting to produce hand sanitiser, the Royal Mint producing protective medical products, as well aa monumental effort to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible.

Only time will tell if this huge level of funding will be required on a long-term basis, and more importantly, if it will make the required impact.”