UK to host global summit with CEPI to speed up new vaccine development

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"The UK’s leadership in developing a vaccine that can be used around the world has been vital in the fight against COVID-19. We look forward to working with CEPI to speed up vaccine development, creating a global solution to ensure we’re better prepared for future pandemics" - Matt Hancock. Picture by Tim Hammond/ No 10 Downing Street

Plans to speed up vaccine development to prevent future pandemics and save lives will be boosted by a UK-hosted summit to raise investment from the international community.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have announced today (Friday 30 April) that the UK will host the replenishment summit in 2022 to support the work of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

CEPI works to speed up the development of vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, like COVID-19, and enable equitable access to these vaccines globally.

CEPI’s 5-year strategy, published last month, aims to reduce or even eliminate the future risk of pandemics and epidemics, potentially averting millions of deaths and trillions of dollars in economic damage. CEPI’s ambitions include cutting vaccine development timelines down to 100 days – about a third of the time that it took the world to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The Prime Minister backed this goal ahead of February’s G7 leaders’ meeting.

This is supported by the UK Government’s new Pandemic Preparedness Partnership (PPP) to save lives from future diseases and prevent another pandemic. The PPP was formed in April and will advise the UK G7 Presidency on how to meet the Prime Minister’s ambition to slash the time to develop and deploy high quality vaccines, backed by additional funding to support CEPI’s work on global vaccine development and manufacturing innovations.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:

UK scientists and researchers have led pioneering work to create life-saving vaccines, now being rolled out in the UK and around the world.

But ultimately, we need to be prepared for future pandemics. As we set out in the Integrated Review, we all need to work together to solve this global challenge.

CEPI’s work will help build a safer world for us all.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

Global health is at the heart of the UK’s G7 presidency. No one is safe until we’re all safe and this last week has seen more global cases of COVID-19 that at any point in the pandemic. We must all work together to strengthen health security.

The UK’s leadership in developing a vaccine that can be used around the world has been vital in the fight against COVID-19. We look forward to working with CEPI to speed up vaccine development, creating a global solution to ensure we’re better prepared for future pandemics.

Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said:

The UK Government, through its foresight, leadership, and generous financial support, has enabled CEPI, and the world, to accelerate the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. I and all of my CEPI colleagues are thus honored and deeply grateful that the UK Government has today announced that it will host our replenishment process.

We will, to be sure, face many challenges as we work to end the pandemic globally, and we cannot allow the emerging variants or other new challenges to threaten or impede the precious progress we have made. But even as we struggle with the challenges immediately in front of us, we must also think about the long game and lay the foundations for a safer future.

Now is a moment to capitalise on the rare alignment of political will, practical experience, and technical and scientific progress emerging from COVID-19 to prevent such devastation happening again. CEPI has laid out an ambitious plan that aims to dramatically reduce or eliminate the risk of future pandemics and the UK has embraced the central pillar of that plan – the aspiration to compress vaccine development timelines to as little as 100 days – as part of its G7 agenda.

The United Kingdom has extraordinary human and institutional resources and an incredible record of scientific accomplishment and innovation. We take great pride in partnering with them to begin building a better, safer, more equitable future.

The announcement comes ahead of the UK-hosted G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting on 3-5 May, where global health will be on the agenda. As part of the UK’s G7 presidency this year, the Government is working with G7 leaders and countries across the world to ensure lessons are learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to build back better. They say this means “working collaboratively to strengthen collective defences and build a global health system, meaning the world can be better protected against future pandemics.”

The UK has been leading the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, using its diplomatic weight and development expertise to help develop and distribute vaccines, support the global economy and encourage international collaboration. It is one of the largest donors to the COVAX AMC, providing £548 million for the scheme. COVAX has so far shipped over 49 million COVID-19 vaccines to 120 countries and territories. CEPI played a vital role in the formation of COVAX and co-leads the initiative alongside the World Health Organization, Gavi, and Unicef.

Earlier this year, the UK also secured a UN Security Council resolution, sponsored by 112 countries, for ceasefires in conflict zones to allow vaccine deliveries to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

To help with their mission to end future pandemics, the Government has already provided £276m to CEPI since 2018.

As the recent Integrated Review set out, the UK is committed to solving global challenges, including helping the world to beat COVID-19 by accelerating equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics worldwide while also investing in the latest science and technology.

CEPI’s $3.5 billion investment case is available at endpandemics.cepi.net.

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