Israel will invest $60 million in coronavirus research, Netanyahu tells world leaders

“Israel’s leading research institutions, its world-renowned scientists and our unique culture of innovation can enable us to play an important role in advancing solutions on all three fronts,” Netanyahu said.

By TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the personal invitation of European Union (EU) Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, participated in an international conference dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The online summit focused on improving international efforts to develop solutions for dealing with COVID-19, with an emphasis on developing and producing a vaccine as well as drugs and equipment for patients.

Leaders from around the world and senior officials from international organizations, including the Gates Fund, discussed the fostering of cross-country cooperation.

Netanyahu announced during the meeting that Israel will invest $60 million in research and development in the fields of diagnostics, therapies and developing drugs and a vaccine for the coronavirus. “Defeating the global pandemic demands a global partnership,” he said.

He noted Israel’s “relatively low” casualties from the virus, which he said are the result of “early action to contain the disease, advance technology to locate those infected, first-rate medical professionals and a disciplined population that largely adhered to the mitigation policies” enacted by Israel.

He underscored that the epidemic “is far from over. At best, we’re only at the end of the beginning,” and Israel is now trying to find the “right balance” between protecting the health of its citizens by preventing another spike in infections while enabling the reopening of the economy.

Netanyahu called on the European leaders to “work together on improving diagnostics, accelerating therapies and ultimately developing a vaccine.”

He expressed confidence that “Israel’s leading research institutions, its world-renowned scientists and our unique culture of innovation can enable us to play an important role in advancing solutions on all three fronts.”

Hours after the conference, the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) in the city of Ness Ziona announced a significant breakthrough in finding an antidote to the coronavirus. Researchers have developed an antibody that attacks the virus uniquely and can neutralize it in a patient’s body.

“We hope to work with other countries to leverage our unique capabilities to find solutions for the benefit of all,” the prime minister said.

Among the participating heads of government and ministers were French President Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Omani Health Minister Dr. Ahmed Al-Saidi, Saudi Arabian Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab.