G7 adopts Carbis Bay declaration to fight pandemics in 100 days

Leaders say they are committed to reinforcing global surveillance networks and new treatments

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Explained: what is the G7 and why is the 2021 summit in Cornwall?

G7 leaders are expected to agree to a Carbis Bay declaration on Saturday, committing to a 100-day response window to develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to prevent any repeat of the coronavirus pandemic.

Alongside the leaders of Australia, South Korea and South Africa, as well as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the group pledged to ensure the world is protected from future threats.

The declaration draws on the report of the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership's independent report containing recommendations on how governments and others can quickly respond to new outbreaks.

"The first 100 days after the identification of an epidemic threat are crucial to changing its course and, ideally, preventing it from becoming a pandemic," a statement from host country UK said.

The declaration said countries would focus on slashing the time needed to develop and licence vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for any future disease, commit to reinforcing global surveillance networks and genomic sequencing capacity, and support reforming and strengthening the World Health Organisation.

Mr Guterres said he wanted a global task force established to tackle the current crisis and would make his case to the G7 meeting when he arrives in Cornwall on Saturday

"The countries that can produce vaccines today, or will be able to do so if properly supported, should come together in an emergency task force, supported by global organisations, Gavi,  the international financial institutions, and table a deal with the pharmaceutical industry in order to be able to define that global vaccination plan and implement it," he said.

"If not, the risk is that there will be still large areas of the developing world where the virus will spread like wildfire and the risks of mutation and the risks of new variants coming and becoming [resistant] to vaccines can undermine the efforts developed countries are having today to make sure that the population is vaccinated."

But to truly defeat coronavirus and recover we need to prevent a pandemic like this from ever happening again

To stop new animal-borne diseases, where three quarters of new human illnesses originate, the UK will establish an Animal Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre to accelerate the delivery of vaccines for livestock diseases.

The UK has contributed £10 million ($14.1m) of funding for the centre and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is calling for G7 support for the Global Pandemic Radar to protect domestic vaccine programmes against new vaccine-resistant variants by identifying them early.

“In the last year, the world has developed several effective coronavirus vaccines, licensed and manufactured them at pace and is now getting them into the arms of the people who need them," Mr Johnson said.

“But to truly defeat coronavirus and recover, we need to prevent a pandemic like this from ever happening again. That means learning lessons from the last 18 months and doing it differently next time around."

The WHO said there was a pressing need for earlier detection and better systems to address pandemic risks.

"We welcome the Carbis Bay Health Declaration, particularly as the world begins to recover and rebuild from the Covid-19 pandemic," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

"Together, we need to build on the significant scientific and collaborative response to the pandemic and find common solutions to address many of the gaps identified."

In pictures: the Queen meets G7 leaders