No10 convenes panel of top scientists chaired by Sir Patrick Vallance in hope of slashing time it takes to create and deploy vaccines to fight Covid variants to just 100 days
- Pandemic preparedness partnership will draw up advice to speed up vaccines
- Two-day virtual conference of 20 experts and industry heads will start today
- £16million is being invested to improve global vaccine manufacturing capacity
No10 has today launched a new panel of experts to accelerate the development of vaccines for Covid variants and future pandemics across the world.
The pandemic preparedness partnership (PPP) will draw up advice on how to cut the time it takes to develop and deploy jabs from 300 days to just 100 — a target set by Boris Johnson in February.
Experts will meet today for the first time, taking part in a two-day virtual conference chaired by the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
The panel of 20 scientists and industry bosses aims to produce an ‘actionable road map’ to achieve the target, in time for the G7 meeting in Cornwall in June.
The PPP will be backed by £16million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI).
Funds will be used to boost global vaccine manufacturing capacity and research to fight future pandemics quicker, and to support the development of variant-specific jabs in the war on Covid.
It comes amid growing concern about an Indian coronavirus strain. No10 last night finally placed India on the travel red list — but leading experts and Labour have said the move came too late.
It is feared B.1.617, as it is scientifically known, spreads more easily than older strains and scientists say it has mutations which may help it evade vaccines.
The pandemic preparedness partnership (PPP) — which is chaired by the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (pictured) — will draw up advice on how Boris Johnson’s target of cutting the development of new vaccines to as little as 100 days can be met
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who will open the conference, said: ‘The Covid pandemic has shaken the world but united us in our determination to ensure no disease has such an impact in the future.
‘As G7 president, the UK is determined to work with our partners to build back better from coronavirus and strengthen global preparedness for future pandemics.
‘This new expert group will drive our efforts in the years ahead to protect people everywhere from new diseases and to save lives.’
Sir Patrick added: ‘Covid-19 has shown us that it’s possible to develop and deploy high-quality vaccines much faster than previously imagined.
‘We have brought together the pandemic preparedness partnership to see whether this can be accelerated even further and applied to the development of medicines and diagnostic tests.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured in the House of Commons yesterday) will open the conference
£16million is being invested to improve global vaccine manufacturing capacity and research into how to quickly respond to new strains (pictured)
‘The group of experts from across the globe will advise the UK G7 Presidency as to how we can accelerate and scale up the development of effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to save lives from future diseases with pandemic potential and I look forward to progressing such vital work.’
Membership of the PPP includes Sir John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University, the World Health Organisation chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, and representatives of the manufacturers AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
Melinda Gates, philanthropist and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will speak to the conference and said the partnership would help ensure an ‘equitable’ vaccine roadmap globally.
She said: ‘The global response to Covid has proved that we are most successful when we bring together scientists, businesses, governments, and collective action through multilateral institutions.
‘This partnership will enable G7 governments to create a roadmap for building a safe, secure, and equitable future for everyone.’
Who are the pandemic preparedness partnership (PPP) members?
- Sir Patrick Vallance (chair) – UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser
- Sir Andrew Witty – CEO, United Health Group
- Sir John Bell — Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford and member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee
- Martin Landray — Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health at the University of Oxford
- Dame Anne Johnson — Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology UCL
- Lord Jim O’Neill — Former Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management & Former Commercial Secretary to the Treasury
- Baroness Minouche Shafik — Director LSE and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England
- Aurelia Nguyen — Managing Director Office of the COVAX Facility, Gavi
- Sir Jeremy Farrar — Director Wellcome Trust & Chair of the Scientific Advisory Group of the WHO R&D Blueprint.
- John-Arne Rottingen — Co-chair ACT-A, member of the G20 High Level Independent Panel (HLIP) on financing for pandemic preparedness and response & ambassador for Global Health, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Peter Sands — Executive Director – Global Fund
- Richard Hatchett — Chief Executive Officer CEPI
- Sergio Carmona — Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer FIND
- Soumya Swaminathan — Chief Scientist WHO
- John Tsai — Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis
- Sir Mene Pangalos — Executive Vice President Biopharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca
- Mikael Dolsten — Chief Scientific Officer, Pfizer
- Paul Stoffells — Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, J&J
- Roger Connor — President Global Vaccines, GSK
- June Raine — Chief Executive, MHRA
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