Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert said it took around 300 days from the identification of COVID-19 to the approval of the first vaccines, but to prevent a future pandemic the response needs to be far faster.
The scientist behind the Oxford COVID vaccine has urged the world to roll out a jab for the next pandemic virus – so-called Disease X – in just 100 days.
In an interview with Sky News, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert said it took around 300 days from the identification of COVID-19 in China to the approval of the first vaccines by medical authorities.
But to prevent the catastrophic impact of a future pandemic the response needed to be far faster.
Being better prepared
“We are not talking about doing the same thing again and just doing it quicker,” she said.
“What we are talking about now is being much better prepared, so we don’t have to start from the same place next time.”
Professor Gilbert will join the director general of the World Health Organisation, the medical adviser to the US President Prof Anthony Fauci, pharmaceutical bosses and government representatives at the Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit in London.
The 100-day target was originally put forward by the UK government during its G7 presidency in June 2021, and backed by leaders of the G7 and G20.