The leaders of Israel, Austria and Denmark announced Thursday an alliance for joint research and development of pandemic-beating drugs, as well as joint investment on coronavirus vaccine production. A sign that Austria and Denmark are departing from the EU’s vaccine response to work more closely with the Jewish state.
The three countries will launch “a research and development fund” and begin “joint efforts for common production of future vaccines,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference in Jerusalem on Thursday, alongside his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
“We don’t know how long… [current coronavirus] vaccines will hold up,” Netanyahu said. “Is it half a year, is it a year, is it two years, is it more, is it less? We don’t know. Therefore we have to protect our people against the reemergence of this pandemic, or mutations.”
Netanyahu said that “together we’re starting here something that I think will galvanize the imagination of the world… other countries have already called me and they’ve said, ‘We want to be part of this effort.’”
Frederiksen said the three countries “have been working very closely together” since the start of the pandemic and that “all have promising research that could pave the way for [a] next-generation platform.”
She said they “would like also to explore possible cooperation on clinical trials.”
“We cannot allow us to be caught off-guard once again. We have new mutations, maybe new pandemics, and maybe new health crises will endanger our societies again,” Federiksen warned.
The countries share a vision for the future that “timely access to vaccines will be critical for our societies in the years to come,” she said, adding that Denmark and Austria are “very inspired by Israel’s ability to roll out the vaccines” for the coronavirus so efficiently.
Kurz hailed Netanyahu, who he said was one of the first to identify the great danger of the pandemic in early 2020 and was “maybe the main reason why we reacted quite early in Austria.”
Israel is also now “the first country in the world that shows that it is possible to defeat the virus,” he said. “The world is looking to Israel with admiration.”
Israel has been a world leader in its vaccination drive, currently having the highest percentage of its population fully vaccinated and continues to press forward in its attempts to beat Coronavirus.