Imperial College London

Imperial experts engage world leaders as G7 begins

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Flags from G7 countries

The Imperial community is playing a pivotal role in informing and influencing the G7 Summit.

The UK has taken on the Presidency of the G7 group of nations in 2021, with the G7 Summit set to take place in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on 11-13 June 2021.

Imperial researchers are helping G7 leaders make better informed decisions on health resilience, sustainable growth, disease and economic modelling, antimicrobial resistance, and artificial intelligence during the UK’s presidency of the group of wealthy democracies.

Reform for Resilience Commission

Imperial is one of the advisers and partners to the Reform for Resilience Commission, an advisory body of experts and policymakers set up to advise on how we can improve economic and health resilience following COVID-19. Imperial’s Professor Lord Darzi, Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery and Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, is one of the commissioners.

Last week, the Commission released its interim report on Healthy Growth, which sets out recommendations for the G7, key lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and a vision for building health and economic resilience.

The interim report urges G7 leaders to address the following challenges:

  • Controlling the ‘third wave’ surge of the Delta variant now sweeping through South and East Asia.
  • Act with urgency to tackle the problems of global vaccine availability; remove barriers to vaccine compliance; and support appropriate use of Vaccine Passports, adequate quarantining and better private-public partnerships for disease surveillance and data sharing.
  • The important lessons for future pandemic preparedness – too much of the pandemic preparedness agenda assumes that pandemics are rare.
  • The vital longer-term lesson of the coronavirus pandemic as a wake-up call for serious strengthening of global institutional commitment to health economic resilience: recognising that the pace of globalisation and climate change is increasing the risk of phytosanitary and respiratory disease outbreaks.
We have drawn on our expertise right across the College to inform these important discussions at the G7 and beyond. Professor Deborah Ashby Imperial College London

Led by Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of the Business School and Professor Deborah Ashby, Director of the School of Public Health, a team of Imperial academics submitted evidence to the commission, supported by The Forum, Imperial’s policy engagement programme.

Key recommendations from Imperial’s submission were cited in the report, including:

  • The need for better integration of macro-economic models and dynamic disease transition models
  • The need to build on recent experience and find more efficient, speedier ways of ensuring that innovative new technologies can be brought into practice
  • How digital initiatives have assisted businesses to adapt activities during the pandemic and, therefore, how digital capacity can be considered a mechanism for resilience.

Professor Deborah Ashby said: “Imperial researchers, especially in the Faculty of Medicine, have played a major role in addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19 pandemic as it has evolved. Attention now also needs to focus on the broader global implications and resilience over the longer term, so we have drawn on our expertise right across the College to inform these important discussions at the G7 and beyond.”

The final report will be published in November alongside a Global Resilience Summit.

Tackling antimicrobial resistance

The silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is on the agenda of the G7 Summit. In the Summit the G7 Health Ministers committed to take strategic actions on AMR, alongside global health security, clinical trials and digital health.

Imperial academics are part of a group of experts led by Professor Alison Holmes working on an upcoming review of current evidence and an interdisciplinary consensus on key priorities for research on optimising antimicrobial use in human populations, to coincide with and feed into the G7 Summit.

A major driver of AMR and poor clinical outcomes is suboptimal antimicrobial use, with current research inequitably focused on the need for new drug development. To achieve antimicrobial security, the strategic research priorities identified the critical need to balance AMR research efforts between the development of new agents and strategies to preserve the efficacy and maximise effectiveness of existing agents. This work identifies research priorities for optimising antimicrobial use and outline actions and strategies to contribute to equitable global health security.

“The global research agenda must also focus on preserving and maximising the effectiveness of our existing antimicrobials.” Professor Alison Holmes Imperial College London

Alongside this paper, this multidisciplinary team of experts led by Imperial with their global partners have put together a proposed roadmap for healthcare professionals, policymakers and advocacy groups to address identified research priorities for optimising antimicrobial use in humans. It recommends that in order to address gaps in AMR and achieve antimicrobial security, research should focus on building capacity for conducting equitable research across four distinct research themes: policy and strategic planning, medicines management and prescribing systems, technological innovation, and context, culture and behavioural research.

Professor Alison Holmes said: "There has been major research investment in the development of new antimicrobials to treat drug resistant infection. However, whilst the world waits for new agents, the global research agenda must also focus on preserving and maximising the effectiveness of our existing antimicrobials."

Esmita Charani, Senior Lead Research Pharmacist, Department of Infectious Disease, and one of the authors, said: "Antimicrobial Resistance is a global threat that can only be addressed through collaboration and partnerships spanning different healthcare economies, sectors, and populations.

"Working with expert colleagues around the world, including patient and public advocates, we have identified the key research priorities that need to be addressed if we are to optimise the use of existing and emerging antibiotics. The next steps are to act on this work and respond to these identified research needs through building on our existing global research partnerships and collaboration across different health economies and populations.'' 

The next steps are to act on this work and respond to these identified research needs through building on our existing global research partnerships and collaboration across different health economies and populations. Dr Esmita Charani Imperial College London

Imperial is also contributing its expertise via an upcoming paper on innovation and technology to support optimised antimicrobial use and precision prescribing. 

It will review state-of-the-art technologies under development that have the potential to address current barriers and support wider implementation of precision antimicrobial dosing. This includes Imperial based research from the Centre for Antimicrobial Optimisation (CAMO) on biosensor-based, real-time therapeutic drug monitoring, closed-loop control systems and artificial intelligence-driven decision support tools.

Dr Timothy Miles Rawson, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Infectious Disease said: “Optimising the use of antimicrobials is important to ensure the best outcomes for our patients with infection, whilst minimising the development of drug-resistance. Our review explores the state-of-the-art in this field, much of which has been pioneered by collaboration between departments at Imperial College London working within the Centre for Antimicrobial Optimisation.”

U7+ Alliance

The U7+ Alliance of universities, which includes Imperial, has called on the G7 to recognise the key role that universities play as primary global actors and wishes to highlight priority areas in terms of opportunities to collaborate with G7 leaders to actively take responsibility for and foster intergenerational dialogue on issues of importance to this year’s multilateral agenda:

  1. Leading the global recovery from the coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics: resilience depends on the education of our citizens, and the U7+ recognises the distinctive responsibility of our universities to train and nurture responsible, active citizens who will contribute to society at all levels.
  2. Tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity: universities have a major role to play in addressing environmental issues and are committed to promoting access to courses related to climate, biodiversity and sustainability for all students. We have begun intergenerational dialogue on climate change and environmental degradation and are actively working to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Championing global shared values: U7+ encourages G7 leaders to actively foster intergenerational dialogue on issues of inclusiveness and equality, such as the global gender pay gap. U7+ calls on the G7 to promote routes into higher education for youth from marginalised backgrounds and insist that freedom of speech and open dialogue is critical to a well-functioning democracy.

The U7+ Alliance spans six continents and represents all of the G7 nations as well as 10 other nations. It is the first alliance of university presidents aimed at structuring and advancing their role as global actors across the multilateral agenda.

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George Hope

George Hope
Communications and Public Affairs

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Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3904
Email: g.hope@imperial.ac.uk

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