World leaders, organisations and banks have promised $12.6 billion for research to find a COVID-19 vaccine.
The funds, pledged at a video-conference summit hosted by the EU, fell just short of the 7.5b euros ($A12.8b) being sought, but it’s expected more money could flow in coming days. After the mega effort, on May 4, the Commission released a statement:
Today, the Commission registered €7.4 billion, equivalent to $8 billion, in pledges from donors worldwide during the Coronavirus Global Response pledging event. This includes a pledge of €1.4 billion by the Commission. This almost reaches the initial target of €7.5 billion and is a solid starting point for the worldwide pledging marathon, which begins today. The aim is to gather significant funding to ensure the collaborative development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Today the world showed extraordinary unity for the common good. Governments and global health organisations joined forces against coronavirus. With such commitment, we are on track for developing, producing and deploying a vaccine for all. However, this is only the beginning. We need to sustain the effort and to stand ready to contribute more. The pledging marathon will continue. After governments, civil society and people worldwide need to join in, in a global mobilisation of hope and resolve.”
Scott Morrison was among the participants, pledging $352 million on behalf of Australia.
“COVID-19 is putting us all to the test and it is a test we are all rising to,” Mr Morrison said.
Notably absentees were India, Russia and the US. The US is suffering the worst ever onslaught of COVID-19 where 1,180,288 people have been infected and 68,934 people have died.
Undaunted by the numbers, Donald Trump is adamantly working with “other nations” and was “very confident” about the progress of a vaccine “on US shores”.
Donald Trump has said a COVID-19 vaccine would be ready by the end of the year. Trump made the statement seaking to Fox News for a televised ‘town hall’ debate.
Following his discussions with the heads of pharmaceutical companies working on the vaccine, Trump assured the audience that work is “so far ahead of any vaccine ever in history”.
“We are very confident that we’re going to have a vaccine at the end of the year – by the end of the year,” he said.
“We’re pushing very hard. You know, we’re building supply lines.
“We have — many companies are, I think, close because I meet with the heads of them and I find it a very interesting subject because it’s so important.”
Trump called the clinical trial of the drug remdesivir, a “game changer”.
“Look, we’re doing things at the FDA that’s never happened before. We’re getting approval so fast,” he added.
As has been frequently the case, Trumps timeline contradicts the one given by his own administration’s top expert Dr Anthony Fauci. Fauci has cautioned that even if everything goes perfectly, developing a vaccine would take 12 to 18 months and it would set a record for speed.
US has named Australia as a partner country in its quest for a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’re working with Australia, we’re working with the UK,” he said.
COVID-19 Vaccine for the entire world, not just few
In reaction to the news the US had not participated in the teleconference, other world leaders spoke publicly of the need to pull together and not make the vaccine race a competition between nations.
“We can’t just have the wealthiest countries, the most successful scientific countries, have this success and not share it with the world, because we will not be safer until we’re able to share it with the world,” Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said.