An alliance of world leaders held a virtual summit Monday with the goal of raising billions of dollars to fund research into a vaccine for the coronavirus as well as develop new treatments and better testing.
The European Commission organized and hosted the event from its headquarters in Brussels, as leaders called in from all over the world. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the world must pool its resources to start work on vaccines, diagnostics and treatments against the coronavirus
She said the first objective was to raise an initial sum of $8 billion which would help "ramp up” work on vaccines and treatments.
Calling in from Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged $573 million, saying the video summit sent a “signal of hope” and saying the pandemic was a “global challenge that required global solutions.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a COVID survivor himself, announced Britain’s pledge of $482 million, and reminded leaders Britain will host another summit in a month on behalf of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).
Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said the country would make a total investment of approximately $834 million to fighting the virus at home and abroad.
Canada, France, India, Israel, and Spain were among the other nations pledging to the effort.
People in many countries across the globe, and notably in Europe this week, are cautiously returning to work but authorities remain wary of a second wave of infections, and a vaccine is the only real golden bullet to allow something like normal life to resume.