(Forbes) Billionaires George Soros and Bill Gates are part of a consortium set to buy Mologic, a U.K.-based maker of Covid tests, in an effort to increase access to “affordable state-of-the-art medical technology” around the world, according to a statement released Monday.
The Soros Economic Development Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the launch of a new initiative, Global Access Health (GAH), aiming to strengthen the global rollout saving medical technology and the subsequent acquisition of Mologic Ltd, best known today for the deep-nostril technology used to deliver rapid Covid-19 tests. The technology can also be used to test for dengue, bilharzia and river blindness.
The rapid so-called lateral flow tests offer an early-warning screening for Covid-19 and have been used around the world as an aid to help reopen shops, bars, sporting events and workplaces by giving an early warning result for people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can give the virus to others. In the U.K., lateral flow Covid tests need to be confirmed by a second test before Covid-19 is officially diagnosed.
The GAH consortium, which includes Soros’ and Gates’ philanthropic arms, will invest “at least” $41 million in this deal, according to the statement.
Soros and Gates are part of the billionaire community looking to direct their philanthropic efforts to the so-called global south, referring broadly to the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania that many fear will be left behind as the more affluent West accelerates its program of vaccinations, testing and biosecure bubbles in the years ahead. Sean Hinton, the CEO of the Soros fund, said in a statement that the pandemic has “painfully demonstrated the fundamental inequities” in global public health, adding that this “unique transaction” has brought philanthropic funds and investors together to address the issue.