British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Opens Virtual Global Conference On COVID-19

At the conference, Johnson confirmed the UK's pledge of 388 million pounds aid funding for research into vaccines, tests and treatments

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened a virtual global conference on COVID-19 today by calling on all countries to step up their efforts and work together on fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the “most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes”.

The Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference was co-hosted by the UK and eight other countries and organisations including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and the European Commission.

At the conference, Johnson confirmed the UK’s pledge of 388 million pounds aid funding for research into vaccines, tests and treatments – part of a larger 744 million pounds existing UK aid commitment to help end the pandemic and support the global economy. This includes 250 million pounds for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to develop vaccines against coronavirus – the biggest such donation to the fund by any country.

“Towin this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield aroundall our people, and that can only be achieved by developing and mass producinga vaccine,” said Johnson. “The more we pull together and share our expertise,the faster our scientists will succeed. The race to discover the vaccine todefeat this virus is not a competition between countries, but the most urgentshared endeavour of our lifetimes. It’s humanity against the virus – we are inthis together, and together we will prevail,” he said.

Theconference was updated on the progress at pace on vaccine development, with theUniversity of Oxford and pharmaceutical major AstraZeneca announcing apartnership to support large-scale manufacture and potential distribution of avaccine currently being trialled by the university. The UK highlighted thattackling coronavirus globally is crucial to preventing a second wave of thevirus re-emerging in Britain, which would put even further pressure on thestate-funded National Health Service (NHS). It will also ensure thatlife-saving vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests are available as soon aspossible. UK International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:“It is only by working together that we will prevent future waves of infectionand end this pandemic as quickly as possible.

“By strengthening developingcountries’ health systems and working to find a vaccine, the UK is playing itspart in stopping the global spread of coronavirus to save lives everywhere andprotect our NHS.” The conference this week will be followed up by the UKhosting the Global Vaccine Summit on June 4, bringing together countries andorganisations to follow the UK’s lead in investing in the work of Gavi, theVaccine Alliance. Last week Trevelyan announced a funding pledge equivalent to330 million pounds a year over the next five years to Gavi. This will helpimmunise 75 million children in the world’s poorest countries.
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