New vaccine investments key to future pandemic fight – Quince

The UK is to pump millions of pounds into four new research facilities as its minster with responsibility for global health warned the world needed to work together if it was to be ready to fight the next pandemic.

Will Quince (pic) was speaking as the secretary general of ASEAN trade block, visited the UK along with a delegation of health and scientific experts.

Quince said: “In 2021, the UK became ASEAN’s first new dialogue partner in a quarter of a century. And since then, our relationship has continued to grow in confidence and in strength, because we share a vision of a free, open and stable Indo-Pacific region, governed by the rule of law.

“And the UK wants to play the fullest possible role in advancing that vision, drawing on the best of British expertise in finance, regulation, and healthcare. That’s why we applied to join the ASEAN Regional Forum.

“And it’s why we’re committed to working with ASEAN to meet the challenges of the 21st century, from climate change to global health, and harnessing AI’s potential.”

Quince said that the leading scientific minds and industry partners from Britain and ASEAN remained committed to finding solutions.

“Not just to current health challenges, but also those facing future generations – from pandemics to the impact of a changing climate on our health systems,” He said. “As a health minister, I’ve got a front row seat to see the benefits our joint efforts will deliver for our people.

“I know investing in global health research isn’t just good for my country – it benefits the peoples of South-East Asia, and the world. And we all know it’s the only way we’ll prevent the next global health crisis.”

Quince explained the UK’s Newton Fund has supported over 70 research teams to conduct crucial research on strategic areas like antimicrobial resistance, meningitis and COVID-19. And through the Fleming Fund, the Department of Health department has invested £265 million, supporting countries around the globe to generate, share, and use data on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

“I’m proud this is the world’s single largest aid investment in AMR surveillance,” he continued. “It will continue to bolster our partnership with at least four ASEAN member states.

“But this is just the beginning. I’m proud to announce we’re investing more than £30 million of aid in four new vaccine manufacturing research hubs through the UK Vaccine Network. This will build partnerships between British universities and global vaccine developers.

“And that includes creating a dedicated UK-South East Asia Vaccine Manufacturing Hub, in a partnership between the University of Sheffield and twelve ASEAN partner institutions.

“So that if another pandemic strikes, lifesaving vaccines will be more readily available across South-East Asia and the world.

“And that’s not all. We’re also working closely with our friends in the Secretariat to develop a new programme: the ASEAN-UK Health Security Partnership. This will bring the full force of our expertise to bear in tackling shared global health challenges.”

Qince concluded: “The measures we’re announcing will help our countries tackle future pandemics, boost research into vaccines, and reduce deaths from infectious diseases.”