The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $50 million (£30.9 million) on Wednesday to support emergency efforts to contain West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, which has already killed almost 2,300 people in the worst outbreak of the virus in history.

The U.S.-based philanthropic foundation said it would release funds immediately to U.N. agencies and international organisations to help them buy supplies and scale up the emergency response in affected countries.

It will also work with public and private sector partners to speed up to development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics that could be effective in treating Ebola patients and preventing further spread of the haemorrhagic fever-causing virus.

“We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now and stop transmission of this deadly disease,” Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the Foundation’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

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