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Austria, Denmark and Israel to launch joint Covid-19 R&D fund

Leaders of three countries pledge cooperation on R&D and vaccine production

The leaders of Austria, Denmark and Israel have announced a joint R&D fund aimed at keeping the public health response to Covid-19 ahead of the evolution of new strains of the virus causing the disease.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the fund on 4 March at a press conference in Jerusalem, alongside Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, according to local media reports.

Netanyahu said the three countries would also work on “joint efforts for common production of future vaccines”, the Times of Israel newspaper reported.

“We cannot be caught off-guard once again. We have new mutations, maybe new pandemics, and maybe new health crises will endanger our societies again,” said Federiksen, according to the newspaper. She added that the countries would like to explore collaboration on clinical trials.

Israel leads the world on vaccinating its population against Covid-19 thanks to a collaboration with vaccine producer Pfizer, with 99 per cent of its citizens having received at least one dose by 4 March, according to Our World In Data. The global average is just 3.6 per cent, with Denmark and Austria on about 12 and 8 per cent respectively.