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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 3 March 2021

Boris Johnson sets 100-day vaccine challenge

UK leader calling for global treaty to protect against future pandemics by developing inoculations rapidly

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday laid out plans to minimise the risk of a future pathogen outbreak and reiterated calls for a global treaty that would protect and prepare the world should another pandemic occur.

He said he wanted to bring together world leaders and health experts to collectively defend against any possible future threat.

“We all have lessons to learn from an experience that none of us would want to repeat,” he said.

Mr Johnson set a target of being able to develop future vaccines against new diseases in 100 days – a third of the time it took to develop Covid-19 vaccines.

“I intend to bring together my fellow leaders, scientists and international organisations for collective defence against the next pathogen, just as we unite against military threats,” Mr Johnson told the Munich Security Conference.

“The heroic endeavours of the world’s scientists produced safe and effective vaccines against Covid in barely 300 days.

"In future, we should aim to telescope that even more: by drawing together our resources, we should seek to develop vaccines against emerging diseases in 100 days,” he said in his virtual address to the annual meeting.

Mr Johnson said part of protecting the world against Covid-19 required understanding its mutations, and he urged the global community to utilise this lesson for the future.

“Now we need to mobilise our shared expertise to create an early warning system for the next pathogen, enabled by a worldwide network of pandemic surveillance centres. The UK intends to work alongside the World Health Organisation and our friends to bring this about,” he said.

“If anything good can possibly come from this tragedy, we have at least been given the chance to build a global recovery on new and green foundations, so that humanity can prosper without imperilling the planet.”

Updated: February 21, 2021 02:14 PM

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