The U.N. on Friday joined forces with world leaders and the private sector on an initiative to speed up the development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and ensure equal access for all.
"This is a landmark collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for COVID-19," World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.
"Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the tools to defeat COVID-19," he said.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the objective at a global pledging effort in early May would be to raise 7.5 billion euros ($8.10 billion) to ramp up work on prevention, diagnostics and treatment.
"This is a first step only, but more will be needed in the future," she told the conference.
The coronavirus has killed more than 190,000 people worldwide, including more than 100,000 in Europe and nearly 50,000 in the United States, according to a tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University from government figures. The true numbers are undoubtedly far higher, and new cases are surging in Africa and Latin America as outbreaks subside in some places that were hit earlier.
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