By SAT News Desk
MELBOURNE, 4 May 2020: In a big boost to the research for a COVID-19 vaccine, the European Commission registered €7.4 billion, equivalent to $8 billion, in pledges from donors worldwide during the Coronavirus Global Response pledging event. This includes a pledge of €1.4 billion by the Commission. Australia has pledged $350 million. this almost reaches the initial target of €7.5 billion and is a solid starting point for the worldwide pledging marathon, which begins today. The aim is to gather significant funding to ensure the collaborative development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines against coronavirus.
The pledging event was co-convened by the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy (also incoming G20 presidency), Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (also holding the G20 presidency), Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The initiative is a response to the call from the World Health Organization (WHO) and a group of health actors for global collaboration for the accelerated development, production, and equitable global access to new coronavirus essential health technologies. The Coronavirus Global Response Initiative is comprised of three partnerships for testing, treating, and preventing underpinned by health systems strengthening.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Today the world showed extraordinary unity for the common good. Governments and global health organizations joined forces against coronavirus. With such commitment, we are on track for developing, producing, and deploying a vaccine for all. However, this is only the beginning. We need to sustain the effort and to stand ready to contribute more. The pledging marathon will continue. After governments, civil society and people worldwide need to join in, in global mobilization of hope and resolve.”
An EC media release says, ” To help reach the objectives of the Coronavirus Global Response, the European Commission is committing €1 billion in grants and €400 million in guarantees on loans through a reprioritisation of Horizon 2020 (€1 billion), RescEU (€80 million), the Emergency Support Instrument (€150 million) and external instruments (€170 million).
€100 million will be donated to CEPI and €158 million to the World Health Organization. EU-funded calls for proposals and subsequent projects under Horizon 2020 will be aligned with the objectives of the three partnerships and subject to open access to data. Funding under RescEU will go towards the procurement, stockpiling, and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.”
The Commission will soon announce the breakdown of the amount raised today and how much will go to vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and health systems strengthening related to COVID-19.