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European Commission to hold virtual global conference to raise funds for vaccine


European Commission to hold virtual global conference to raise funds for vaccine

EC President Ursula von der Leyen during a conference in April
Photo: European Commission

After convening several meetings last month to coordinate the EU’s COVID-19 response plan, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen will assemble a donors’ conference today with hopes of raising $8 billion for a vaccine.

With at least 254 therapies and 95 vaccines currently being explored, the world’s health agencies, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions are devoting vast resources to finding a cure to a virus that has taken over 240,000 lives. The average vaccine takes 15 years to produce and only 10% of drugs are ultimately approved for human use, meaning that much more investment will be required to accelerate the goal of a vaccine by 2021.

Confounding the unity and coordination sought by this conference are escalating tensions between the US and China over blame for the pandemic. The EU will insist that no preference be shown to the nation that develops a vaccine, while the US, UK and other nations maintain that their people be given favour, ensuring a future conflict over vaccine resources. In coordinating the fundraising and global response, the EU is hoping to moderate this resource conflict and ensure their own citizens are ensured vaccines. Without a coordinated global effort though, precious time and resources will be wasted, and the 18-month timeline goal will likely not be met.

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