Inaugurating a virtual international coronavirus conference on May 4, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on countries to step up efforts and work together to find a COVID-19 vaccine on an urgent basis and help end the world’s most daunting public health crisis. Co-hosting the pledging event along with eight other countries and organisations, Mr Johnson stressed working together to develop and mass-produce a coronavirus vaccine that will provide a safety “shield around people”.“The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed. The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries, but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes,” the British leader said. He described it as “humanity against the virus, and together we will prevail”.
Mr Johnson confirmed £388 million for research into vaccines, tests, and treatments as part of a broader £744 million the UK has committed to help end the pandemic and support the global economy. It includes £250 million for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations – the largest such donation to the fund by any country, the statement said.International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “It is only by working together that we will prevent future waves of infection and end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”“By strengthening developing countries’ health systems and working to find a vaccine, the UK is playing its part in stopping the global spread of coronavirus and saving lives and protecting our NHS,” she added.
Tackling coronavirus globally is crucial to preventing a second wave of the virus re-emerging in the UK, which would put even further pressure on the NHS. It will also ensure that life-saving vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tests are available as soon as possible, she said.
The event, which brought together the world’s leading experts for vaccine development and treatment, follows the UK’s lead in investing in the work of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Last week, Ms Trevelyan announced a funding pledge of £330 million a year over the next five years to Gavi. It is expected to help immunize 75 million children in the world’s poorest countries. Also, the Oxford University and AstraZeneca announced a partnership to support large-scale manufacture and potential distribution of a vaccine currently being trialed by the varsity.
Besides UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and the European Commission co-hosted the pledging summit.
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