The European Union started an international conference on the search for vaccines and coronavirus treatment by pledging one billion euros to the cause. That is about $1.09 billion USD.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the virtual Coronavirus Global Response conference the initial aim is to raise 7.5 billion euros, or $8 billion USD, to ramp up immediate work, but more will be needed. She described it as the start of a global “pledging marathon”.

The reality is we will have to live with the virus until and unless we develop a vaccine and this is why we have to join forces and pool our money and our minds to kick-start work on vaccines, diagnostics and treatments against coronavirus,” the EU Commission President said.