The Board of the World Bank approved the creation of a fund to finance investments in strengthening the fight against pandemics.

The fund will support prevention, preparedness and response with a focus on low- and middle-income countries, the bank said in a statement.

The devastating human, economic and social impacts of Covid-19 have highlighted the urgent need for coordinated action to build stronger health systems and mobilize additional resources, it said.

The World Bank added that the fund, which it intends to open later this year, was developed under the leadership of the US, Italy and Indonesia under their G20 presidency and with broad support from the G20.

It will be used in a number of areas, including disease surveillance, with more than $1 billion in pledges already.