Britain joins European initiative to find vaccine to curb coronavirus pandemic

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with German chancellor Angela Merkel (2-R) and British pr

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with German chancellor Angela Merkel (2-R) and British prime minister Boris Johnson (R) at the United Nations headquarters. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP). - Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Britain has formed part of a Brussels initiative to find a vaccine to help with the global coronavirus pandemic.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, announced plans to raise £6.6 billion to lead the scientific fight-back against Covid-19 on Friday.

Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte, French president Emmanuel Macron, and Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel have all indicated their support of the scheme which aims to plug gaps in the financing of scientific research.

Charles Michel, the president of the European council, and Norway's prime minister Erna Solberg have also given their backing, with hope support will come from outside the bloc too.

Britain has offered £388 million as part of a £744 million aid commitment to help end the pandemic and support the global economy during the crisis.

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In an article in the Independent the leaders behindn the scheme wrote: 'The funds that we raise will kickstart an unprecedented global cooperation between scientists and regulators, industry and governments, international organisations, foundations and healthcare professionals.'

'If we can develop a vaccine that is produced by the world, for the whole world, this will be a unique global public good of the 21st century.'

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They added: 'This is our generation's duty and we know we can make this happen.'

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