An online event hosted by the European Commission (EC) raised €8.67 billion to help fight the novel coronavirus.
Rabat – Countries and donors around the world yesterday pledged approximately €8.67 billion to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment. In an online conference hosted by the European Commission (EC), more than 30 nations, UN bodies, and research institutes promised donations to the cause.
Several members of the G20 co-chaired the online fundraising event, including Germany, France, Norway, the UK, Italy, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. China attended the conference via its EU ambassador but did not make any contributions to the cause. Russia did not attend the event.
The US, who recently halted funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), was also not present at the conference. Officials in the Trump administration claimed the US is preoccupied with its own efforts to create a vaccine and the North American country is already providing assistance to others across the globe.
Some key donations at the fundraising event included €1 billion from the EC, €1 billion from Norway, €500 million from France, and €525 million from Germany.
European leaders also expressed a need for a more long term international alliance to work towards finding a vaccine while helping poorer nations across the globe mitigate some of the disastrous impacts of COVID-19.
Several EU leaders and EC President Ursula von der Leyen penned an op-ed emphasizing the uniqueness of the pandemic and calling for global commitment against its spread.
‘‘This means bringing together the world’s best—and most prepared—minds to find the vaccines, treatments and therapies we need to make our world healthy again, while strengthening the health systems that will make them available for all, with particular attention to Africa,’’ the statement read.
Many leaders stressed the importance of vaccine accessibility. “Those who invent it of course will be fairly paid, but access will be given to people across the globe by the organization we choose,” French President Emmanuel Macron said.
“Science is never national, science serves humanity,” German chancellor Angela Merkel stressed while addressing lawmakers at the German parliament prior to the EC conference.
“If we find a medicine or vaccine, test and approve it, then this must be available and affordable to the entire world,” said Merkel.
While the race for a COVID-19 vaccine intensifies across the globe, most health experts are predicting that the vaccine’s development will take at least 12 to 18 months and likely become available mid-2021.