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G20 science academies call for lessons to be learned on pandemic preparedness

06 August 2021

The Royal Society has joined the scientific academies of the world’s 20 leading economies to urge the governments of the G20 to take immediate action to increase preparedness for future global pandemics.

In a joint statement on Pandemic preparedness and the role of science (PDF), they set out the lessons from COVID-19 and earlier pandemics, and the steps required to assure future global health security.

The events of the past 18 months have shown that no nation can prepare for a global pandemic in isolation, and that international cooperation, planning and infrastructure can all be improved to increase resilience.

Priorities identified by the G20 science academies include:

  • Creating a global surveillance network to detect unusual clusters of deaths or disease; provide molecular disease surveillance of emerging respiratory infections and antibiotic resistant bacteria; and build skills, governance and infrastructure to connect surveillance data internationally.
  • Promoting distributed manufacture and delivery of diagnostics, drugs, vaccines, medical supplies and equipment by increasing manufacturing capacity in low and middle-income countries; streamlining regulation and standards for new treatments, tests, vaccines, as well as patenting and pricing.
  • Launching an Intergovernmental Convention to establish international agreement on pandemic preparedness and management; assess cooperation, successes and failures during the COVID-19 pandemic; and agree mechanisms and incentives to improve timely outbreak reporting.

This builds on the call by the G7 science academies earlier this year for more cooperation on data-sharing in global health emergencies.

The S20 statement can be read in full here.

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