Trump missing as world leaders raise $8.1 billion to finance coronavirus vaccine
London, May 5, 2020 (AltAfrica)-World leaders, Celebrities, and philanthropists with the notable exception of Donald Trump, have raised $8.1 billion on Monday to research Covid-19 vaccines and therapies at a virtual event convened by the EU,
The money is largely designed to speed up the process by raising guaranteed funds to coordinate research and incentivise pharmaceutical companies to distribute any vaccines and therapies to poorer countries, something that did not happen in the 2009 swine flu outbreak.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said any distributed vaccine “won’t belong to anybody”.
“Those who invent it of course will be fairly paid, but access will be given to people across the globe by the organisation we chose,” he said
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, who hosted the conference, said a vaccine was the best chance of beating the COVID-19 disease, which has so far killed nearly a quarter of a million people around the world — 140,000 of them in Europe.
Major European powers, along with Japan and Canada, made the biggest pledges but the lack of US representation raised the prospect of an uncoordinated competition to develop and produce a vaccine.
Some wealthy American individuals did take part, and pop star Madonna’s million-dollar contribution was feted by EU officials.
Many leaders used their brief speeches to assert their support for the existing multilateral architecture for global health, including the World Health Organization. The US last month suspended funding for the WHO, criticising its relationship with China.
Erna Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister and summit co-host, said “we support the leadership of the World Health Organization”, adding that without the UN body “an effective and coordinated response to the pandemic would not be possible”.
She said that “multilateral cooperation is more important than ever” and the meeting was the start of a global movement “never seen before”.
At the parallel “non-aligned movement” summit, Rouhani attacked the US decision to pull out of the WHO, describing it as “a strategic blunder”.
The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom, in his address to the EU-convened event , pointed out how quickly the genetic sequence of the virus had been shared by China amongst scientists globally
The donations came from around 40 countries, the UN, research institutes and philanthropic bodies including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Trump — fighting for reelection in November — said on Sunday the United States would have a coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of the year.
His prediction was met with scepticism in some quarters, with Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn warning it could take years for anyone to develop a vaccine.