LONDON (AP) — The global vaccine alliance GAVI says it will donate $5 million toward developing the leading Ebola vaccine, hoping that it will be approved by a regulator by the end of 2017.

If the vaccine is given the green light, GAVI says it will then create a stockpile to help stamp out future outbreaks of the lethal disease. The vaccine's producer, Merck & Co. Inc., says it will ensure that 300,000 doses are available from May for use in advanced trials and emergency use.

In a statement on Wednesday, GAVI CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said "the world is still worryingly underprepared for potential future health threats."

In 2014 — during the biggest-ever outbreak of Ebola — GAVI pledged to spend $300 million to buy Ebola vaccines for poor countries.