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UK to set up vax centre as leaders vow to quash future pandemics

01:07 AM Jun 13, 2021 | Agencies
UK’s Queen Elizabeth II cuts a cake as Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge look on at an event in celebration of ‘The Big Lunch’ initiative.

After the 3-day gathering was inaugurated by UK PM Boris Johnson on Friday, the leaders attended a dinner with Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family. As they posed for a group photo, the Queen jokingly said: “Are you supposed to be looking as if you're enjoying yourself?” To which Johnson, the host of the Summit, said: “We have been enjoying ourselves — in spite of appearances.”

UK PM Boris Johnson (R) greets UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Cornwall.

Aditi Khanna

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London

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Britain will set up a new animal vaccine development centre that will aim to stop viruses jumping into the human population as part of a landmark global health declaration to be agreed by G7 world leaders at Carbis Bay in Cornwall on Saturday.

The so-called "Carbis Bay Declaration" will see the world's leading democracies commit to a series of measures that are designed to quash future pandemics within the crucial period of the first 100 days.

It comes as the G7 leaders from the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as well the EU are joi­ned in their discussions on global health by their counterparts from South Korea, South Africa, Australia and India - taking part virtually.

"In the last year the world has developed several effective coronavirus vaccines, licensed and manufactured them at pace and is now getting them into the arms of the people who need them," said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the host of the first major in-person world summit since the pandemic began last year.

"But to truly defeat coronavirus and recover we need to prevent a pandemic like this from ever happening again. That means learning lessons from the last 18 months and doing it differently next time around. I am proud that for the first time today the world's leading democracies have come together to make sure that never again will we be caught unawares," he said.

Controlling zoonotic diseases, or those human diseases which originate in animals, has been made central to the UK PM's plan for preventing future pandemics. Therefore, Downing Street said to stop new animal-borne diseases before they put people at risk, the UK will establish a UK Animal Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre at the Pirbright Institute in Surrey, south-east England.

"The Centre will draw on Pirbright's world leading expertise to accelerate the delivery of vaccines for livestock diseases. These diseases pose a risk to people if they mutate to become transmissible to humans and can devastate agriculture in the UK and internationally. The centre will rapidly assess promising new technologies in the field, and develop and test novel vaccines for emerging diseases," Downing Street said.

The Carbis Bay Declaration was to be agreed by leaders later in the day and published on Sunday, alongside the final G7 Summit Communique.

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