World leaders united in pledging billions for a coronavirus vaccine yesterday, as the search for a coronavirus vaccine goes on.
Despite the absence of US and Russian officials, more than $8bn (£6.5bn) was pledged by world leaders in the online summit to help develop a coronavirus vaccine and fund research into the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
The call, hosted by the EU, saw some 40 countries and donors take part.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the money would help kickstart unprecedented global co-operation.
She said it showed the true value of unity and humanity, but warned much more would be needed in the days ahead.
More than 30 countries, along with UN and philanthropic bodies and research institutes, made donations.
Along with the European Commission, the conference was co-hosted by the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway and Saudi Arabia.
Other donors included pop singer Madonna, who pledged €1m ($1.1m).
Of the donations, the European Commission pledged $1bn to fund research on a vaccine with Norway matching that, whilst France pledged €500m.
Saudi Arabia and Germany also pledged €500m, while Japan pledged more than $800m.
Of the money raised, $4.4bn will go on developing a vaccine, $2bn on the search for a treatment and $1.6bn for producing tests, the EU said.
In her opening remarks at the summit, Ms von der Leyen said everyone must chip in to finance “a truly global endeavour”.
She added: “I believe 4 May will mark a turning point in our fight against coronavirus because today the world is coming together.
“In the space of just a few hours we have collectively pledged 7.4 billion euros for vaccines, diagnostics and treatments,”
“The partners are many, the goal is one: to defeat this virus.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, another co-host of the conference, said the “more we pull together” in sharing expertise, “the faster our scientists will succeed” in developing a vaccine.
The British Prime Minister, pledged £388m from the UK, for vaccine research, testing and treatment during the conference.
Many projects are already under way across the world in the search for a vaccine, and while experts believe it may take as as long as mid-2021 to find a vaccine, this pledge shows how the world is coming together in the fight to defeat coronavirus.
On this day…
In 1835… The first railway in continental Europe opened between Brussels and Mechelen.
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