With a quarter of million deaths worldwide and more than three million cases in the world, European Union and other global partners have come together to speed up the development of a vaccine against this COVID-19 and to make it affordable and accessible by pledging €7.4billion, in a conference hosted by the European Commissioner.
The European president, Ursular Var Den Leven said “Today is only the start of the global marathon. The second objective is to bring under the same roof, all global health organizations working on their initiatives to fight the pandemic.” She further added that “the money will kick-start unprecedented global cooperation.” The money comes from the whole world excluding United States and Russia. The funds were not for the vaccines only but also for the treatment of patients and testing as shared thus; 4 billion for vaccine, 2 billion for treatment and 1.5bilion for testing respectively.
There are hundreds of labs across the globe working together, to develop the vaccine as quickly as possible, but not all vaccines are to be tested rather vaccines which are advanced are to be tested, in which seven vaccines are already in clinical trials.
According to Seth Berkeley, CEO of Gavi, he said, “you can’t take hundreds of vaccine into a lab stage testing and into manufacturing scale up…. Those vaccines then will need to be produced in very large numbers not just in probably original company but probably transfer the technology to other companies as well that have large amounts produced.” More money will be needed to make the vaccines accessible in developing countries as it is hoped that the vaccine will be available within 18 months soonest.
Neither Russia nor US would be questioned why they have refused to join the pledge with other countries because Russia is badly hit with 10,000 new cases in the third day in a row as of today, having 155,370 cases and 1,451 deaths, they are working to get their nation under control first before trying to develop a vaccine. US on the other hand have been leading in the search for a vaccine and if effective, other countries will benefit from it.
The impact of the money on the search for a vaccine and its importance on global cooperation is important according to Dr. Marie-Paule Kieney, Director of research in some institutes and former vaccine research director WHO, when she said “it is important because there are hundred groups working together and it is clear that not all the vaccines can be pushed for advanced clinical trial but for the fact that it is a global effort, will help the concerned community, come together to decide on which are more promising and push forward as quickly as possible.” She added that there is need for more than one vaccine because of its production capacity and its quality though not less than ten would prove effective.
Since vaccine is the only way that life can get back to normal according to public health experts, the problem is how affordable and accessible would the vaccines be for all but most especially in the developing countries? Hence, the import of the attempt of the European Union and its partners.