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G7 discuss 100 Days Mission to improve readiness for future pandemics

Today (12 June), G7 Leaders will discuss the 100 Days Mission, an ambitious but essential mission to have safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics within 100 days of a future pandemic threat being identified. The UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Melinda French Gates will address Leaders at the Carbis Bay Summit, setting out how governments, industry, international organisations and others should work together to speed up the world’s response to future pandemic threats.

In this pandemic, we have seen successful international collaborations between the public and private sectors, resulting in extraordinary innovations and the unprecedented pace of the scientific response. We had regulator-approved vaccines in just over 300 days, effective therapeutics (in the form of dexamethasone) in 138 days and the first rapid diagnostic test gained WHO approval in 236 days. While this is an extraordinary achievement, we can - and should - endeavour to do it in 100 days in a future crisis.

Sir Patrick Vallance, convened an independent international group of experts - the pandemic preparedness partnership steering group - to advise the UK’s G7 Presidency on how the development and deployment of safe and effective vaccines, treatments and tests could be accelerated in a pandemic.

The partnership today published its report: the ‘100 Days Mission for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to respond to future pandemic threats’. The report sets out recommendations for governments, industry, international organisations and others, to speed up our response to a future pandemic through research & development and best practice in business as usual and having ‘rules of the road’ to guide international responses in pandemics. The report advises that, through building on the lessons and extraordinary scientific response to COVID-19, the world should aim for the following interventions to be available, safe, effective and affordable within the first 100 days of WHO declaring a pandemic:

  • Vaccines ready to be produced at scale for global deployment;
  • An initial regimen of therapeutics; and,
  • Accurate and approved rapid point of care diagnostic tests.

To make this ambitious mission achievable, the report recommends that governments, industry, international organisations and others focus on the following goals:

  • Having a mission-focused approach to research & development to fill the gaps in our arsenal, targeting the viral families most likely to be the source of the next pandemic and preparing for unexpected disease threats;
  • Making the exceptional routine by embedding best practice and pandemic preparedness in business as usual activity, so this is the norm before a pandemic arrives. This includes regional clinical trial networks, better regulation and simplified manufacturing processes;
  • Agreeing rules of the road that are activated in a pandemic, so time is not wasted agreeing the basics. This includes protocols and guidance on supply chains, indemnification, data sharing as well as a system to share biological samples.

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said:

The first 100 days of a pandemic are crucial to changing its course. As well as containing the disease and stopping spread in those 100 days, we need to develop our three key weapons of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. This report, which will be presented to G7 leaders today, recommends how the world can rapidly develop and deploy them safely and effectively within 100 days of a pandemic threat being detected. It’s an ambitious target, but one that is achievable and will save countless lives in the future.

Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said:

The world can only achieve global health security by prioritising global equity. This roadmap sets out an ambitious agenda for how G7 governments can help strengthen health systems so that everyone—no matter where they live in the world—will benefit from a rapid response to future threats.

In February, the UK Prime Minister challenged the G7 to harness scientific innovation and strengthen public and private collaboration to reduce the time to develop and make available vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to combat future pandemic threats. In response, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, convened an international group of experts - the pandemic preparedness partnership steering group - to advise the UK’s G7 Presidency.

The 100 Days Mission has already received endorsement from a number of key stakeholders. Last week, Sir Patrick Vallance co-chaired a meeting with Lord Bethell, which brought together the CEO’s of the major life science companies to discuss the recommendations in the 100 Days Mission report. These industry leaders backed the ambition of the 100 Days Mission and have pledged to work alongside governments, academia and international organisations to achieve it. The G7 Chief Scientific Advisers will conduct regular reviews of the implementation of the recommendations, beginning with an initial stocktake before the end of 2021. This will include  an update for G7 leaders on progress towards achieving the mission and any further steps that are needed.

Note to Editors

  • The pandemic preparedness partnership is chaired by the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. The 20 members contained independent experts from international organisations, academia, industry, from right across the globe, to maximise international collaboration.
  • Sir Patrick Vallance consulted his Chief Government Scientific counterparts, and their equivalents, in the other G7 nations regularly throughout the process of drafting the 100 Days Mission report. The 100 Days Mission report is a collaborative piece of work, drawing on conversations from a wide spectrum of experts across international organisations, regulators, academics and representatives from industry.
  • The partnership is grateful to Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose deep expertise and knowledge, convening power, and authority helped to maximise the findings of the partnership. She brings years of Global Health expertise to the pandemic preparedness agenda and is a key advocate for ambitious targets to enhance preparedness and improve global access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.