Go back

UK launches global partnership to combat future pandemics

Image: Number 10 [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Partnership will advise G7 leaders on how to slash vaccine development timeline to 100 days

An international partnership aimed at better preparing for future pandemics has been launched by the UK government.

Chaired by the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership will report to world leaders at the June summit of the G7 nations, which also include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

“Covid-19 has shown us that it’s possible to develop and deploy high-quality vaccines much faster than previously imagined,” said Vallance. “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.”

The government said the partnership would advise on prime minister Boris Johnson’s ambition, announced in February, to slash the time taken to develop and roll out vaccines against emerging diseases to just 100 days.

In March, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which has played a key role in the development of successful Covid-19 vaccines, also announced its ‘moonshot’ goal to reduce the timeline of vaccine development for emerging diseases to 100 days.

Cepi chief executive Richard Hatchett is a member of the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership, and the UK government has provided the organisation with a further £16 million.

The 20-strong partnership includes representatives from the World Health Organization and leading figures in the Covax initiative to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, as well as senior UK research leaders and directors of multinational pharmaceutical companies. Its first meeting took place on 20 and 21 April at a closed-door event.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said that “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”.

The partnership steering group members are:

  • Patrick Vallance (chair): UK government chief scientific adviser
  • Andrew Witty: CEO of UnitedHealth Group
  • John Bell: regius professor of medicine, University of Oxford, and member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Martin Landray: professor of medicine and epidemiology, University of Oxford
  • Anne Johnson: professor of infectious disease epidemiology, UCL
  • Jim O’Neill: former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and former commercial secretary to the Treasury
  • Minouche Shafik: director of LSE and former deputy governor of the Bank of England
  • Aurelia Nguyen: managing director, office of the Covax Facility, Gavi
  • Jeremy Farrar: director of the Wellcome Trust and chair of the Scientific Advisory Group of the WHO R&D Blueprint
  • John-Arne Røttingen: co-chair of ACT-A, member of the G20 High Level Independent Panel on financing for pandemic preparedness and response, and ambassador for global health, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Peter Sands: executive director of the Global Fund
  • Richard Hatchett: CEO of CEPI
  • Sergio Carmona: acting CWO and chief medical officer of FIND
  • Soumya Swaminathan: chief scientist of the WHO
  • John Tsai: head of global drug development and chief medical officer of Novartis
  • Mene Pangalos: executive vice-president, biopharmaceuticals R&D, of AstraZeneca
  • Mikael Dolsten: chief scientific officer of Pfizer
  • Paul Stoffels: vice-chair and chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson
  • Roger Connor: president, global vaccines, of GSK
  • June Raine: chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency