Pandemic preparedness and the role of science

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research


Pandemic preparedness and the role of science
S20 ACADEMIES JOINT STATEMENT July 2021 :: 8 pages
Based on consideration by the Scientific Academies of the G20 countries of how the
experience of the response to COVID-19 might inform pandemic preparedness in the
future, the governments of G20 are urged to undertake the following actions:

1. Promote the creation of a global network of surveillance, with agreed criteria to:
Detect emerging unusual clusters of morbidity and mortality that may be the
harbingers of a potential new pandemic by:
building on existing infrastructures including the global alert and response system
for disease outbreaks;
promoting enhanced support for systems such as the Epidemic Intelligence from
Open Sources initiative (EIOS);
developing robust policies and platforms for collating and sharing detailed data –
for example on pathogen genomics.
Provide molecular epidemiological surveillance for directly transmitted respiratory
infections (the most dangerous in terms of rapid spread) and bacterial infections in
the context of the spread of antibiotic resistance genes.
Strengthen the system for worldwide antimicrobial resistance surveillance.
Advertise, educate and promote support for these, and build capacity and skills for
their use.
The network should be underpinned by the governance, infrastructure and skills to
interpret, analyse and connect across countries, and to learn from international data.

2. Promote the distributed manufacture and delivery of diagnostics, drugs, vaccines, medical supplies and equipment for:
Increased technology and manufacturing capability worldwide, but especially in
low and middle-income countries.
Streamlined regulatory processes for novel diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.
International regulatory agencies to look at the lessons learned from swift
development of vaccines in the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure new regulatory
processes can be implemented in a timely fashion.
Provide an international structure to compile and advise on the sensitivity and
specificity of different diagnostic tools.
Enhance access to new technologies, accounting for intellectual property,
patenting and pricing mechanisms.

3. Launch an Intergovernmental Convention that should:
Pave the way to the formulation of an International Agreement on Pandemic
Preparedness and Management, as recently proposed by more than 20 world leaders.
Provide a unique forum to assess the experience of COVID-19 for successes and
failures in global cooperation.
Discuss the need for incentives and mechanisms to reinforce the International
Health Regulations (2005) that must become a sharper instrument for action and
more timely reporting of potential outbreaks.