The European Union on May 4 hosted a teleconference for world leaders and philanthropists seeking donations for the research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of a possible vaccine for the treatment of Coronavirus. The online conference was hosted by Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, who said a vaccine was the best chance of beating the outbreak. According to reports, world leaders and organisations have pledged $8.1 billion for the development of a vaccine.
The online donor conference was attended by leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain, Norway, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, South Africa, and dozens of other countries. While the United States decided to give a miss to the event, China on the other hand, where the virus is believed to have originated, sent only its ambassador to the European Union. The conference was also attended by the United Nations, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and philanthropic bodies, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other research institutes.
As per reports, European Union diplomats confirmed that the United States, which has the most number of Coronavirus cases, did not attend the event. The United States did not give any specific reason for not participating in the conference but experts indicate an uncoordinated competition to develop a vaccine could be a reason behind its absence.
The European Union has nearly half the world's COVID-19 casualties taking its toll to over 1,40,000 on Monday. According to data by worldometer, the Coronavirus outbreak has claimed more than 2,50,000 lives so far and has infected over 3.62 million people globally. The United States is the worst affected country with over 69,000 deaths and 1.2 million confirmed infections. The virus that reportedly originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, spread across continents in less two months forcing the WHO to declare it a global pandemic on March 11.
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