Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said Canada is contributing over $850 million towards the global fight against COVID-19.
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This funding includes support for the University of Saskatchewan’s work on vaccine development and Vancouver-based AbCellera’s efforts to develop effective treatments, he said, as well as contributions for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization’s solidarity trial, which helps hospitals share information on treatments.
“The more we cooperate, the more likely that we find a cure and find it quickly. And that’s something we all want to see,” he said during his daily press conference in Ottawa.
Earlier in the day, Trudeau participated in a European Union pledge conference aimed at boosting financial support for the fight against COVID-19. Asked by reporters why Canadian isn’t committing more funding toward the effort, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation predicting that it will cost $20 billion in the long-term to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine, Trudeau said there would be “more to come” as the world continues to grapples with the pandemic
“It is really important that the world comes together to collaborate, because even once we find a vaccine — whether it’s in Canada or elsewhere around the world — we will share that vaccine in its formula. But production of that vaccine will be extremely important right around the world as well,” he said.
“It cannot just be the wealthiest countries producing that vaccine for its citizens – for their citizens. We need to ensure that there are systems in place so that the billions of people around the world who are vulnerable can get these vaccines as well.”
In a similar vein, Health Canada on Friday authorized clinical trials for the national CONCOR study, which is designed to test the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as a treatment for patients infected with the virus.
Earlier that week, Canadian Blood Services collected its first COVID-19 convalescent plasma donation for CONCOR.
Trudeau also used his daily media availability to warn Canadians to continue practicing physical distancing, and not venture outside unless they “absolutely had to,” as many parts in Canada begin experiencing warmer spring weather.
“I know the weather is getting nicer. We still need to be extremely careful, and not just for our seniors, but for everyone around us,” he said.
“With your actions, you’re contributing to your community and demonstrating that Canadians time and time again will continue to step up.”
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