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Experts linked to the International Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat (IPPS) visited the University of Oxford’s vaccine laboratories this week as part of a two-day gathering on accelerating pandemic preparedness.

The 100 Days Mission Science and Technology expert group, which includes co-chairs Dr Victor Dzau, President of the US National Academy of Medicine, and Shingai Machingaidze, Chief Science Officer at Africa CDC, were given a tour of the vaccine research facilities managed by the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) and Pandemic Sciences Institute (PSI).

The IPPS is an independent secretariat which helps to coordinate governments, the private sector and global health institutions in support of the 100 Days Mission – the target to produce, distribute and enable safe and effective vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics within 100 days of a pandemic threat being identified.                                         

The group met with Oxford staff and students working to develop vaccines to combat current and future pandemic threats – including for COVID-19, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and Nipah virus. They also visited the clinic where the first Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines were administered.

Professor Teresa Lambe, Principal Investigator at OVG and PSI, and a member of the 100 Days Mission Science and Technology Expert Group, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome IPPS colleagues to our research facilities. Without a concerted effort to build on the lessons learnt from COVID-19, we will remain ill-prepared for the next pandemic.

“The IPPS, working with partner organisations, will review and make recommendations relating to global efforts underpinning the 100 Days Mission. This will ensure we are in the best position possible to face future pandemic threats.”

Shingai Machingaidze, co-chair of the 100 Days Mission STEG and Chief Science Officer at Africa CDC reflected on the visit: “It was fantastic to meet the team that worked on the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the only vaccine for COVID-19 to be sold at cost during the pandemic. Investing in key R&D capacities across vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics is vital if we are to meet the aims of the 100 Days Mission.”

IPPS’ Secretariat, which is hosted at the Wellcome Trust and funded by both Wellcome and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, works with the G7, G20, industry, civil society and international organisations as key partners.