DAVOS, Switzerland, May 24 (Reuters) – A global health fund has raised a third of the $18 billion needed to reverse the setbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic and fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced its first private sector contribution on Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The $10 million commitment from Comic Relief US unlocks a $20 million commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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The fund has set a 2024-2026 fundraising goal of $18 billion. US President Joe Biden, who will host an upcoming conference, has already announced a $6 billion pledge.

Health care disruptions caused by COVID-19 around the world have led to reversals in testing and treatment for the three killer diseases, executive director Peter Sands said.

The donor environment has also changed drastically since 2019, when the fund reached a target of $14 billion.

Sands said the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and growing economic headwinds were impacting investments. Governments are in transition regarding budget allocations for COVID-19 and some are also committing funds to help Ukraine.

Private sector donations are also affected by recent market losses.

“It’s a tough time to raise large sums of money,” Sands said.

(This story corrects Gates commitment to $20 million, para 3)

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Reporting by Leela de Kretser; Editing by Alexander Smith

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