G7 leaders are committed to using all their resources to prevent a global pandemic from ever happening again while they meet in Cornwall.
The world’s leading democracies agreed on the ‘Carbis Bay Declaration’, an historic statement setting out a series of concrete commitments to prevent any repeat of the human and economic devastation wreaked by coronavirus.
Leaders were joined in their discussions on global health at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall today by their counterparts from South Korea, South Africa, Australia and India, and the Secretary General of the UN alongside other leaders of international organisations – recognising the need to tackle the roots of the coronavirus pandemic on a truly global level.
They received a presentation by Sir Patrick Vallance and Melinda French Gates on the work of the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership, a group of international experts drawn from across industry, government and scientific institutions established by the UK earlier this year to advise the G7 on how to prevent, detect and respond to future pandemics.Today the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership will publish an independent report, the ‘100 Days Mission to Respond to Future Pandemic Threats’, which contains actionable recommendations on how governments and others can quickly respond to any future outbreaks.
The first 100 days after the identification of an epidemic threat are crucial to changing its course and, ideally, preventing it from becoming a pandemic.The Carbis Bay declaration will incorporate the recommendations of this report and set out the other steps G7 countries will take to prevent a future pandemic. These include slashing the time taken to develop and licence vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for any future disease to under 100 days, a commitment to reinforce global surveillance networks and genomic sequencing capacity and support for reforming and strengthening the World Health Organization.75% of new human diseases originate in animals and these diseases are emerging at an increasing rate. Controlling zoonotic diseases is a key element of the PM’s 5 Point Plan for preventing future pandemics set out at the UN last year – the first plan articulated by a G7 leader on pandemic preparedness. To stop new animal-borne diseases before they put people at risk, the UK will establish a UK Animal Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre at The Pirbright Institute in Surrey.The Centre will draw on Pirbright’s world leading expertise to accelerate the delivery of vaccines for livestock diseases. These diseases pose a risk to people if they mutate to become transmissible to humans and can devastate agriculture in the UK and internationally. The centre will rapidly assess promising new technologies in the field, and develop and test novel vaccines for emerging diseases.The UK has led the fight against Covid-19 through our support for the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and has a long history of leadership in vaccine research. Smallpox and rinderpest – the first two diseases in history to be totally wiped out – were eradicated using vaccines developed by British scientists.The UK has contributed £10 million of funding for centre, which will establish the UK as world leader in the rapidly growing field of novel livestock vaccine development capability. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide £14.5m to establish the centre, building on its current investments in vaccines for livestock and zoonotic diseases at The Pirbright Institute.
This followed the Prime Minister’s announcement last month that the UK had launched plans for a global ‘pandemic radar’ to identify emerging COVID-19 variants and track new diseases around the world. Today he will ask for G7 support for the Global Pandemic Radar, which will protect domestic vaccine programmes against new vaccine-resistant variants by identifying them early and before they are able to spread.
The G7 is uniquely well-placed to lead global efforts in pandemic prevention – the group is home to two-thirds of the world’s pharmaceutical market and the four coronavirus vaccines licenced for use in the UK were all developed in G7 nations (the UK, US and Germany).The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:In the last year the world has developed several effective coronavirus vaccines, licenced and manufactured them at pace and is now getting them into the arms of the people who need them.But to truly defeat coronavirus and recover we need to prevent a pandemic like this from ever happening again. That means learning lessons from the last 18 months and doing it differently next time around.I am proud that for the first time today the world’s leading democracies have come together to make sure that never again will we be caught unawares.The Carbis Bay declaration will be agreed by leaders today and published tomorrow alongside the G7 Summit Communique.It builds on the steps taken by others to strengthen pandemic preparedness this year, including the recent recommendations of the Independent Panel for Preparedness and Response.The UK is also supporting work in the World Health Organization on a Pandemic Treaty to increase global efforts to prevent future pandemics.Dr Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization said:We welcome the Carbis Bay Health Declaration, particularly as the world begins to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. Together we need to build on the significant scientific and collaborative response to the COVID-19 pandemic and find common solutions to address many of the gaps identified.To this end WHO welcomes and will take forward the UK’s proposal for a Global Pandemic Radar. As we discussed, the world needs a stronger global surveillance system to detect new epidemic and pandemic risks.Professor Bryan Charleston, Director and CEO of Pirbright said:There is a global unmet need to accelerate the development of vaccines from the laboratory to provide effective products for livestock keepers to control disease in their animals. Preventing disease by vaccination will help secure food supplies and so improve human health and welfare.The importance of this centre has been recognised by UKRI-Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who have worked together to develop a plan to establish this new facility that will also play a key role in controlling zoonotic diseases.Rodger Voorhies, President, Global Growth & Opportunity at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said:We see this partnership as an exciting opportunity to build on British scientific excellence to safeguard the livelihoods of farmers in poor and marginalised communities around the globe, while protecting people everywhere from the increasing risk posed by zoonotic diseases.
Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, a co-funder of the UK Animal Vaccine and Innovation Centre project said:In the last year, more than ever, we have recognised the global importance of vaccine research and how the UK plays a leading role. Now, we can take the opportunity of joining UK expertise with an international effort in the field of veterinary vaccines. The new facility – which BBSRC will co-fund – at the world-renowned Pirbright Institute, will be a shield and a sword against animal diseases that can devastate agriculture and infect human populations.