Health workers before entering a high-risk area on Sept. 7, 2014, at Elwa Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, which is run by Doctors Without Borders
Dominique Faget—AFP/Getty Images
September 11, 2014 1:30 AM EDT

The fight against Ebola received a desperately needed monetary boost Wednesday, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announcing a $50 million donation.

In a statement, the foundation said it would release flexible funds to U.N. agencies combatting the disease, which has already killed over 2,000 people in its worst ever outbreak.

“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,” said Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann.

The foundation said it has already committed $10 million out of the total $50 million to fighting Ebola — $5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency operations and research, and another $5 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support efforts in the worst-hit countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. In addition, it will also pledge $2 million to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been promising developments in the search for a cure, with a new vaccine reportedly producing positive results. However, the rapidly accelerating spread of Ebola has caused the WHO to project that over 20,000 people will be infected by October.

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