Leaders launch pledging marathon for global vaccine search

Organisers included the European Union, non-EU states Britain and Norway, as well as Japan, Canada and Saudi Arabia, although, China, where the virus originated in December, was only represented by its ambassador to the European Union.

Governments aim to raise funds over several weeks or months, building on efforts by the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and wealthy individuals and turn the page on the fractious and haphazard initial response around the world.

"The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed", said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday (May 4).

Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country is "committed to this goal" of finding a vaccine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, "we must all chip in to finance this truly global endeavour".