- PM will call on world leaders to back efforts to speed up the development of new vaccines, treatments and tests at G7 meeting
- Slashing the time to develop vaccines for new diseases to 100 days will save countless lives in future health crises
- UK confirms it will send the majority of any future surplus vaccines to the COVAX scheme to support developing countries
The Prime Minister is setting out his ambition today to cut the time to develop new vaccines by two-thirds to 100 days, as he chairs the first G7 leaders’ meeting of the UK’s presidency.
He has asked Sir Patrick Vallance to work with international partners, including the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), as well as industry and scientific experts to advise the G7 on speeding up the process for developing vaccines, treatments and tests for common pathogens.
The development of a coronavirus vaccine in approximately 300 days was a huge and unprecedented global achievement. By reducing the time to develop new vaccines for emerging diseases even further, we may be able to prevent the catastrophic health, economic and social repercussions seen in this crisis. The 100 day ambition was proposed by CEPI earlier this year.
Through international collaboration to intensify research and development, modernise medical trials and create more innovative vaccine manufacturing and supply chains, we can save lives in future health crises and prevent the next pandemic.
The Prime Minister will also confirm today that the UK will share the majority of any future surplus coronavirus vaccines from our supply with the COVAX procurement pool to support developing countries, in addition to the UK’s £548 million funding for the scheme. He will be encouraging G7 leaders to increase their funding for COVAX in support of equitable access to vaccines.
Speaking ahead of today’s meeting, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
Perhaps more than ever, the hopes of the world rest on the shoulders of scientists and over the last year, like countless times before, they have risen to the challenge.
The development of viable coronavirus vaccines offers the tantalising prospect of a return to normality, but we must not rest on our laurels. As leaders of the G7 we must say today: never again.
By harnessing our collective ingenuity, we can ensure we have the vaccines, treatments and tests to be battle-ready for future health threats, as we beat Covid-19 and build back better together.
Delivering on the objectives in the Prime Minister’s Five Point Plan to Prevent Future Pandemics – first set out at the UN last year - will be a key focus of the UK’s G7 presidency this year. The Prime Minister will also call on G7 leaders to support a treaty on pandemic preparedness through the WHO.
Today’s meeting will be the first hosted by the PM as part of the UK’s G7 Presidency this year and the first gathering of G7 leaders since April 2020.
At the meeting leaders are expected to confirm their support for the UK’s G7 health priorities and discuss wider efforts to address global challenges and secure a sustainable, green economic recovery from coronavirus, as well as a number of foreign policy issues.
Notes to editors:
- Sir Patrick Vallance is the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser
- The first cluster of COVID cases was reported in China on December 31st 2019, and the first successful vaccine trial was announced by Pfizer-Biontech on November 9th 2020 – 314 days later
- We expect to be able to identify any UK vaccine surplus later this year. This is dependent on continued supply chain reliability and whether new vaccines are needed for variant strains or as a booster dose in the Autumn
- The leaders of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA and the Presidents of the European Council and the EU Commission will meet at 1400 GMT today [Friday 19th February] for a virtual teleconference
- This is a closed-door meeting. Further details will be shared for photo and video pool opportunities at the top of the meeting and a readout will be issued after