Global pledging 'marathon' collecting money for COVID-19 vaccine starts

The 7.5 billion euro target is only an initial figure

At 1300 GMT on Monday an international pledging “marathon” starts, which goal is to raise at least 7.5 billion euros ($8.2 billion) for research into a possible vaccine and treatments for the novel coronavirus, news wires reported.

Organised by the European Union, non-EU states Britain and Norway, and Japan, Canada and Saudi Arabia, world leaders aim to collect funds over several weeks or months, building on efforts by the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and wealthy individuals.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last month called the online pledging conference “a real marathon”, saying a vaccine to the respiratory disease COVID-19 was needed “in every corner of the world ... at affordable prices.”

The event starts at 1300 GMT on Monday but donation figures may not be known immediately. It is unclear how much of the money which will be pledged represents new funding, as financial commitments made earlier this year will also be included.

Saudi Arabia, the current chair of the Group of 20 industrialised countries, has pledged $500 million.

Some EU officials have raised concerns about countries counting in money already pledged earlier this year, Reuters reported.

The 7.5 billion euro target is an initial figure. Von der Leyen has said countries will need more money over time.

Britain will hold another online donor summit on 4 June.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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