The European Commission is mobilizing €1 billion toward developing vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for coronavirus, President Ursula von der Leyen said as she opened a global online pledging event she’s hosting today.
Von der Leyen did not specify how much of the amount was new, given that the Commission has already committed money to the fight against the virus that has shut down most of Europe and the world.
The Commission aims to raise €7.5 billion today, but is accepting pledges already made since January 30, when the World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
“The Fourth of May 2020 will mark a turning point in our fight against coronavirus because today the world is coming together,” von der Leyen said. “I’m delighted to get the ball rolling … the European Commission mobilizes €1 billion for the coronavirus global response.”
Tens of countries from around the world are expected to pledge money today, with one notable absence: the United States.
However, its Department of State said today that it welcomes the EU’s effort to “mobilize resources to mitigate and ultimately end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It then outlined how the U.S. is leading the effort against the pandemic and in developing a vaccine.
“In addition to long-standing investments in research, the U.S. government has spent more than $1 billion developing COVID-19 vaccines in partnership with the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and international stakeholders,” it said.