Tom Cruise will grace our screens again this year trying to stop an enemy force and prevent an impending global disaster in another Mission: Impossible film. Yet, in the real world, similar efforts are also being made, but this time in pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPPR). This includes reducing the timeline of safe and effective vaccines, treatments and tests from 300 to 100 days, dubbed the “100 Day Mission”. But what is needed to make this mission possible?

Since the early 2000s, the world has experienced several high-impact diseases, including COVID-19, which continues to proliferate worldwide with over 6.6 million deaths recorded. COVID-19 will also not be the last disease with pandemic potential. The probability of a similar outbreak is estimated between 47% and 57% within the next 25 years due to increased interaction between humans, wild and domesticated animals, and the environment.

A diagram with 3 layers of circles. In the middle of the circle, text: one health. Second circle: ecosystem, animal, human. Third outer circle: biodiversity loss, social determinants, migration and mobility, food systems, husbandry, water and food safety, landuse change, climate change.
Diagram demonstrating a ‘One Health’ approach; the intersection between human, animal and environmental health.
Image: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (Giz)

Whilst infectious disease outbreaks are becoming more likely, their ability to cause millions of deaths and economic damage is not inevitable. A core part of minimising the impact of pandemics is decreasing the time it takes to produce vaccines and other medical tools that target the disease. If a vaccine had been made in 100 days for COVID-19 when there were 2 million cases worldwide, it could have significantly contained the spread of the virus. In reality, the first vaccine was made in December 2020, when there were almost 70 million cases and 1.6 million deaths.

A key player in this effort is the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI); an organisation that funds the research and development of vaccines for diseases such as COVID-19 and Lassa Fever. CEPI’s current strategy (CEPI 2.0) is centred around a plan for achieving the 100 Day Mission. The 100 Day Mission has been endorsed by governments globally, including the UK, which endorsed it as a central component of its G7 presidency in 2021.

G7 leaders sat around a big table in Carbis Bay
G7 leaders roundtable meeting on Day 1 of the Carbis Bay summit, 2021.
Image: Prime Minister’s Office of Japan 

How can we get closer to reaching the 100 Day Mission in 2023?

In 2022, political will and financial support for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response began to waver. At the Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit, for example, just US $1.5 billion was raised of the US $3.5 billion needed to finance CEPI 2.0. This included a disappointing pledge from the UK Government of £160 million over the next 5 years, instead of the £300 million that we and other health advocacy NGOs had called for. 

Nevertheless, this year there is ample opportunity to re-energise commitment to PPPR and the 100 Day Mission. Against the backdrop of negotiations for a Pandemic Accord (a convention to strengthen PPPR) and the evolution of the newly launched Pandemic Fund, PPPR will also feature as part of the next G7 Summit, hosted by Japan in May. 

Japan is said to be honing in on the 100 Day Mission, focusing on equitable access of medical tools. Inequitable access to medical tools has been a recurrent theme in the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, policy choices made by governments predominantly in the ‘Global North’ prevented populations outside of high-income countries from acquiring vaccines (you can read more about this in our report Paternalism and Power in UK Pandemic Preparedness and Response).  

A black man in a lab coat wearing glasses, holds a syringe
During our virtual delegation to Kenya, Elvis Saitoti and his colleagues in Kajiado county talked about the importance of diagnostic tools, and how the COVID-19 pandemic and response affected their work. 
Image: Simon Gikonyo / RESULTS UK 2021

The outcome of the G7 Summit will help to set the tone for the upcoming United Nations High-Level Meeting on PPPR (the first of its kind) and also the next G20 Summit, hosted by India, in Autumn. These international events gather leaders from across the world to discuss, agree and make commitments on global issues. In the months leading up to these events, advocacy will be critical in securing trackable political and financial commitments for PPPR. 

For RESULTS UK, we will focus on encouraging governments to value PPPR as a global public good and sustainably finance it beyond the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget. Specifically, we are asking the UK Government to disburse its existing pledge to CEPI of £160 million and build on this using other budgets to reach £300 million. 

The UK Government has the tools and resources to support making the 100 Day Mission possible. So, advocates, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make the UK Government a champion for PPPR again.