The race to find a vaccine for coronavirus will be boosted by £210 million of new UK aid funding, the Prime Minister announced today (26th March) following a virtual summit of G20 leaders.
To date, this is the largest single contribution by any country to the key international fund to find a coronavirus vaccine. It will ensure British scientists and researchers continue to lead the global fight against the virus.
The Prime Minister is calling on governments to work together to create a vaccine as quickly as possible and make it available to anyone who needs it.
The UK, along with many other countries, is channelling funding to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) which is supporting the development of vaccines that will be available throughout the world. Future vaccines will be made available at the lowest possible price to the NHS and other countries’ healthcare systems.
CEPI has announced that it requires $2 billion additional funding from international governments to develop the crucial vaccine. If all G20 governments pledged $100 million funding this shortfall would be met instantly. The UK has already gone beyond its share by committing £250 million to CEPI to date, and the UK is asking all governments to contribute to this important international goal.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
While our brilliant doctors and nurses fight coronavirus at home, this record British funding will help to find a vaccine for the entire world. UK medics and researchers are at the forefront of this pioneering work.
My call to every G20 country and to governments around the world is to step up and help us defeat this virus.
In the meantime, I want to repeat to everyone that they should stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
Today’s video call between G20 leaders, the first gathering of this group since the coronavirus outbreak, also discussed international efforts to protect the global economy from the long-term effects of the virus.
The UK has led the way in responding to the economic impact of coronavirus, producing a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business in the UK and contributing to the IMF fund to support vulnerable economies. But without targeted and coordinated interventions from international governments the virus could have far-reaching global implications for people’s jobs and finances.
Global health experts have identified the weakness of developing countries’ healthcare systems as one of the biggest risks to the global spread of the virus. A ‘second wave’ of the pandemic emanating from the developing world would impact countries who are only just recovering and undermine current efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus and protect vulnerable people.
An additional package of UK aid announced today will go towards producing rapid tests for coronavirus and testing and developing medicines to treat the disease, for use in the UK and around the world.
Quickly identifying those with coronavirus and having the means to treat those most affected will be pivotal in bringing down the number of people killed by the virus.
UK funding will accelerate the development of medicines to treat the virus, both by testing the effectiveness of existing medicines against coronavirus, such as drugs currently used in cases of malaria, and by researching and testing new treatments.