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European Investment Bank to raise COVID-19 fund to 2 billion euros

The European Union has been hosting an international pledging conference this month with the aim of raising 7.5 billion euros ($8.25 billion) in initial funding to kick-start global cooperation.

May 28, 2020 / 07:16 PM IST

Europe's biggest development bank, the European Investment Bank, is to ratchet up its coronavirus support fund to 2 billion euros as part of global efforts to help tackle the health crisis, the bank's President Werner Hoyer has told Reuters.

The European Union has been hosting an international pledging conference this month with the aim of raising 7.5 billion euros ($8.25 billion) in initial funding to kick-start global cooperation.

The EIB's additional money will be earmarked for rolling out vaccines, improving therapeutics and diagnostics globally and helping health systems cope.

"Over the three-week pledging period the EIB Group has had the opportunity to significantly increase its (initial) pledge in support of the European Union's overall effort," EIB President Hoyer said.

"The EIB Group will pledge 2 billion euros," he said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"Support for treatments, vaccines and cures is an immediate priority".

The EIB initially pledged 141 million euros of support on May 4 mainly to help research and development efforts both within the EU and other countries around the world.

The additional money is set to be focused on activities out of the EU and includes measures to support health systems.

It is part of a wider 6 billion euro COVID-related health pipeline at the EIB Group which includes joint investment with the European Commission and include some 'health resilience' projects such as sanitation.

Werner added that European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen had been a "driving force" behind the pledging effort.

"This global pandemic is testing us in unprecedented ways, especially our willingness to demonstrate true solidarity within and beyond Europe," he said.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Reuters

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