British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will call on world leaders to back a bid to cut the time it takes to develop new vaccines to 100 days, as he chairs the first G7 leaders’ meeting of the UK’s presidency on Friday, Downing Street said in a statement.
Johnson has asked the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, to work with international partners, including the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), to advise the G7 on speeding up the process for developing vaccines, treatments and tests for common pathogens, Downing Street said in a statement.
“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,” the statement 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,” Johnson said in a statement ahead of the meeting.
“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,” he added.
During the virtual meeting, the UK will also reiterate that it will send the majority of any future surplus vaccines to the COVAX scheme to support developing countries, Downing Street said.
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 virtually at 9 a.m. ET on Friday.