05.May .2020 11:19

EU: World leaders pledge billions for vaccine fight

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More than $8bn (£6.5bn) has been pledged to help develop a coronavirus vaccine and fund research into the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Some 40 countries and donors took part in an online summit hosted by the EU.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the money would help kickstart unprecedented global co-operation.

Donors also included pop singer Madonna, who pledged €1m ($1.1m).

The European Commission pledged $1bn to fund research on a vaccine. Norway matched the European Commission's contribution, and France has pledged €500m, as have Saudi Arabia and Germany. Japan pledged more than $800m.

Of the money raised, $4.4bn will go on vaccine development, some $2bn on the search for a treatment and $1.6bn for producing tests, the EU said.

The US and Russia did not take part. China, where the virus originated in December, was represented by its ambassador to the European Union.