World leaders and philanthropists on May 4 met during a teleconference hosted by the European Union, where they pledged $8.1 billion to fight the Coronavirus outbreak. According to reports, the money will be used for the research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of a possible vaccine and treatment of COVID-19 patients worldwide. The online donor conference was attended by leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, and other major countries in the world, including organisations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
American pop singer Madonna also attended the online conference where she reportedly pledged $1 million. The United Nations and the World Health Organisation were Ursula von der Leyen for her leadership in hosting the event and for the incredible demonstration of global solidarity.
"I end my intervention by thanking the European Commission - a billion down, and I look forward to hearing from others and reaching the US$ 8 billion today. Thank you, Ursula, for bringing us all together," Tedros said. Ursula during the conference said a vaccine was the best chance of beating the deadly disease outbreak.
World leaders also stressed that any vaccine must be available for all nations with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying it shouldn't be just for rich countries. EU officials said that while companies who will be receiving fundings won't be asked to forgo their intellectual rights on the new vaccine, but they should commit to affordable and equitable access for all.
The United States, however, was missing from the event, which experts say may be due to uncoordinated competition in the development of a vaccine. US President Donald Trump had earlier said that a vaccine for Coronavirus would potentially be ready by the end of this year, which health experts say is not possible until next year. It's not just the United States missing that caught eye-balls of everyone, interestingly, China, where the virus is believed to have originated, decided to send only its ambassador to the European Union.
(Image Credit: AP)