LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it would host a summit in 2022 to raise money for vaccine research and development to support an international coalition seeking to speed up the production of shots for future diseases.
Britain is using its presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations to highlight the need to prepare for future pandemics in light of the devastating consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
Britain said the summit with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) next year would support the body's goal of cutting the development time for new vaccines to 100 days in future pandemics.
"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," health minister Matt Hancock said.
The summit is aimed at raising investment from the international community, though there was no immediate word on which governments or organisations would be invited to attend.
CEPI, a partnership created in 2017 between public, private, philanthropic and civil society groups, played a leading role in funding early development of a range of candidate vaccines against COVID-19.
Britain said global health would be on the agenda of a May meeting of G7 foreign ministers, and it would urge international partners to work to strengthen global health security.
"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," said Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive of CEPI.
"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."
(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Editing by William Maclean)