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World leaders donate to COVID-19 vaccine funding drive

Experts says $20bn needed to vaccinate global population


Over 30 countries, as well as United Nations and philanthropic bodies, have pledged more than $8bn (£6.5bn) towards the research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The funding drive took place as part of an online summit hosted by the EU, with around 40 countries attending. Among the donors were the European Commission (EC), which donated $1bn and Norway which matched the EC’s pledge. France also pledged $500m along with Saudia Arabia and Germany, and Japan has donated over $800m.

The UK confirmed its pledge of £388m for vaccine research and treatment at the conference, with prime minister Boris Johnson, a co-host of the conference, maintaining that countries must “pull together” in the search for a vaccine.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyer said in her opening address that the efforts are “a truly global endeavour”, adding that the funds will lead to significant global cooperation.

"I believe 4 May will mark a turning point in our fight against coronavirus because today the world is coming together The partners are many, the goal is one: to defeat this virus," she said.

Meanwhile, global health bodies have put the cost of vaccinating the global population against COVID-19 at over $20bn, surpassing the initial $8bn funding target set at the EU-led donors meeting.

According to international health organisations, the true figure could be as much as $25bn, once manufacturing and distribution costs are taken into account.

“The EU Commission and partners called for a global response and the global community delivered,” Joe Cerrell, head of global policy and advocacy for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, tweeted yesterday.

“The $8bn pledged shows we are united against coronavirus. A bold step — but only a down payment — on our journey to fight COVID-19,” he added.

The EU has said that, of the funds raised yesterday, $4.4bn will go towards vaccine development, while around $2bn will be donated to the search for effective therapeutics and $1bn will be used for producing tests.

A number of vaccine candidates are currently in clinical testing, including Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccine and several candidates being tested at Oxford University.

However, even with the increased funding, experts have said it will take time to determine which candidates are the most effective, forecasting that it could take until at least mid-2021 for a successful vaccine to become widely available.

Article by

5th May 2020

From: Research



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