Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today (Monday, 4 May) co-host a major international conference to drive forward the global race for coronavirus vaccines, treatments and tests – and call on other countries to step up their efforts and work together on the “most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes”.
The Prime Minister’s call to action will come during the virtual Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference, which is co-hosted by the UK and eight other countries and organisations.
He will confirm the UK’s pledge of £388 million in UK aid funding for research into vaccines, tests and treatments – part of a larger £744 million existing UK aid commitment to help end the pandemic and support the global economy.
This includes £250 million for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop vaccines against coronavirus – the biggest such donation to the fund by any country.
Speaking to the conference, the Prime Minister will say:
To win this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people, and that can only be achieved by developing and mass producing a vaccine.
The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed. The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries, but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes.
It’s humanity against the virus – we are in this together, and together we will prevail.
International Development Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:
It is only by working together that we will prevent future waves of infection and end this pandemic as quickly as possible.
By strengthening developing countries’ health systems and working to find a vaccine, the UK is playing its part in stopping the global spread of coronavirus to save lives everywhere and protect our NHS.
Tackling coronavirus globally is crucial to preventing a second wave of the virus re-emerging in the UK, which would put even further pressure on the NHS. It will also ensure that life-saving vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests are available as soon as possible.
In the UK, work is progressing at pace on vaccine development – on Thursday the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca announced a partnership to support large-scale manufacture and potential distribution of a vaccine currently being trialled by the university.
On the 4th June, the UK will host the Global Vaccine Summit, bringing together countries and organisations to follow the UK’s lead in investing in the work of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Last week International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan announced a funding pledge equivalent to £330 million a year over the next five years to Gavi. This will help immunise 75 million children in the world’s poorest countries.