The British Government’s chief science adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, says the world must start preparing now for the next pandemic.
There needs to be a global war chest and the scientific arsenal to respond to pandemics faster, Sir Patrick said.
“Inventing a safe and effective vaccine is not easy and never guaranteed. Developing a vaccine for malaria took decades and despite great effort there is still no vaccine against HIV. But against the odds and in record time we already have a range of vaccines to protect against COVID-19,” he wrote in the Financial Times on June 2.
“We need to reduce the chance of emergent infectious threats by detecting them quickly and taking decisive action to contain them. These are prerequisites. But we should also stock our arsenal and be prepared to respond. Imagine if we’d had safe, effective and high-quality vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics available at scale within 100 days of this pandemic being declared. The world might have already been back to normal. This should be our aim for the future,” he continued.
“To create a war chest of options backed by strong research will require public-private partnerships. New technologies and modes of working will need to be embedded in everyday activities so that when we require rapid scale-up during emergencies, the exceptional is already part of the routine. We will need to define the rules of the road now so that time is not wasted during epidemics or pandemics in agreeing data-sharing protocols, supply chain movements, funding processes for R&D and procurement, or technology transfer arrangements,” he added.
Britain has already called for a ‘Global Pandemic Radar’ to identify and track new Covid variants and emerging diseases.
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