France, Germany and WHO Launch $8 billion Fund for COVID-19 Vaccine Development
April 26, 2020 (EIRNS)—On April 24, the World Health Organization, with the leaders of France and Germany, launched an $8 billion drive in hopes of accelerating the development of a SARS-Cov2 vaccine, emphasizing that it should be distributed without any favor to all countries. At a virtual press conference, addressed by the WHO, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that “The world needs these tools and it needs them fast.... In the past they have not been available to all. That cannot be allowed to happen again.”
Macron reiterated the sentiment and expressed hope that the U.S. and China will reconcile, saying that “No divide should prevent us from winning this battle.” There are also tensions across Europe. U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s statement from April 22, saying that the U.K. is expecting to reap a huge economic windfall if they develop a vaccine first, has raised ire among other European leaders.
At the April 24 press briefing, Chancellor Merkel called for new production capabilities to be developed, and appealed to both the public and private sectors to assist in helping to close the funding gap. “We are talking here about global public property, about producing this vaccine and then distributing it all around the world.”
A virtual summit meeting is planned on May 4 (hosted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen) at which world leaders are expected to discuss how to raise the $8 billion (€7.5 billion)
Other political leaders who participated in the April 24 event included Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
No U.S. politicians were present, although Melinda Gates, head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also spoke at the press conference. (No comments are yet available.)