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World leaders with the exception of Donald Trump pledge $8 billion to research Covid-19 vaccine

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World leaders with the exception of Donald Trump pledge $8 billion to research Covid-19 vaccine

Saad Ali Rana
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World leaders, with the notable exception of Donald Trump, stumped up nearly €7.4bn (£6.5bn) to research Covid-19 vaccines and therapies at a virtual event convened by the EU, pledging the money will also be used to distribute any vaccine to poor countries on time and equitably.

But in a sign of the fractured state of global health diplomacy, the event was not addressed by India, Russia or the US. After a weekend of persuasion, China was represented by its ambassador to the EU. A separate Covid-19 summit was staged earlier in the day and addressed by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and other world leaders including the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.

Countries that took part

The EU-convened virtual summit was addressed in person by the leaders of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Japan, Jordan, Norway, Israel, South Africa and the EU, and took the form of a pledging marathon. But the US state department released a statement welcoming what it described as “the pledging conference in Europe”, even though the fundraising summit had always been envisaged as a global, rather than strictly European effort.

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