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Drugmaker Gilead Sciences The company said it plans to announce Tuesday that it will provide up to $5 million in grants to help a coalition of LGBTQ+ rights and human rights groups develop a public health response to the monkeypox outbreak.
Outside of Africa, where the virus is endemic, new cases are mainly in gay and bisexual men. Experts have warned that the virus could spread to other populations, especially because of vaccine shortages. The World Health Organization and the United States have declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
The Human Rights Movement (HRC), GLAAD, the National Black Justice League, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights each received $350,000 from Gilead for public education on virus prevention and treatment.
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Gilead is a leading manufacturer of HIV treatments. The company said it was also evaluating whether any of its experimental treatments or drug candidates might be effective against monkeypox.
GLAAD staff were unable to respond to recent inquiries about monkeypox, spokesman Rich Ferraro said. “Through this partnership, we will be able to do more,” he said.
The funds will help these groups produce videos, graphics and other informational resources for distribution to media and community centers, bars, nightclubs, parties and events.
Torrian Baskerville, director of HIV and health equity at HRC, said the U.S. response to the virus at the federal, state and local levels has been “slow across the board”.
The current system varies from state to state, and policy changes are urgently needed to simplify vaccine distribution, he said.
NMAC — formerly the National Minority AIDS Coalition — will receive $500,000 to coordinate the coalition’s public policy work.
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Another $3 million was used to provide emergency grants to small organizations around the world. Gilead spokesman Korab Zuka said these groups are already affected by COVID-19 and may otherwise need to delay routine patient care during the monkeypox outbreak.