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‘The world must work together’: PM calls on countries to join forces against virus in a ‘shared endeavour’

Search for shield: Boris Johnson says a vaccine must be found to defeat virus PICTURE: PA

BORIS JOHNSON will today urge the world to come together in the quest for a coronavirus vaccine as he joins a bid to raise £6.6billion to fight the pandemic.

The prime minister will declare at an international pledging conference that the search for an ‘impregnable shield’ to stop Covid-19 is the ‘most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes’.

The online conference is being hosted by nine countries and organisations including Britain, with about 30 set to attend and hopefully give money. The government has promised £388million for research into tests, treatments and vaccines, as part of a £744million pledge to help end the virus crisis and support the global economy.

Mr Johnson is expected to say: ‘To win this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people and that can only be achieved by developing and mass-producing a vaccine.

‘The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed.

‘The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes. It’s humanity against the virus — we are in this together and together we will prevail.’

Coronavirus has claimed more than 244,000 lives worldwide. Helping to control its spread in other countries is crucial to preventing a second peak of cases here, the government believes.

International development secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: ‘It is only by working together that we will prevent future waves of infection.’ Despite leading calls for a joined-up approach, Britain missed out on a chance to join 25 European countries that teamed up to make a £1.3billion order of protective equipment.

An invitation to take part was missed because of an email mix-up, it has emerged. And when officials did find out about the offer they failed to respond quickly enough.