Belgium and Canada provide funding boost for CEPI's COVID-19 vaccine research

Themis_COVID-19 vaccine

CEPI's vital work to develop safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 has been boosted by generous contributions from the governments of Belgium and Canada. The Government of Belgium has announced an investment of €5 million (US$5.5 million) while the Government of Canada has pledged CA$40 million (US$28.2 million).

Belgium and Canada join a coalition of nations which have responded to CEPI's urgent call for $2bn of funding for COVID-19 vaccine development research.

Financial support has also been provided by Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and the UK, and the total sum pledged now stands at over US$690 million.

CEPI is enormously thankful to the Governments of Belgium and Canada for supporting our urgent efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines. This vital funding comes at a critical moment in the global response to this deadly virus. Lives are being lost, economies are reeling from the impacts of COVID-19, and governments around the world are mandating unprecedented social interventions to combat the pandemic.

These measures are starting to have an effect, but our only sure-fire way to end to this pandemic is to rapidly develop a safe, effective, and globally accessible vaccine. Our goal is to deliver a safe and effective vaccine within 12-18 months.

COVID-19 has ignored all political boundaries and borders. Governments, industry, philanthropies, and scientists must work together to accelerate development of a COVID-19 vaccine, build necessary manufacturing capacity, and most importantly ensure that there is a globally fair allocation system. We cannot return to normal life until we can control this virus everywhere. A safe and effective vaccine is our best hope for doing this.Both Belgium and Canada have been long-term supporters of CEPI and our mission to develop vaccines against emerging epidemic threats. Today, they have reaffirmed that support. CEPI calls on the rest of the international community to join our coalition: only through a collective, unified response against this common threat can we hope to end COVID-19 once and for all.

Dr. Richard HatchettChief Executive Officer, CEPI

CEPI has worked at unprecedented speed to initiate eight COVID-19 vaccine development projects with Curevac, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, Novavax, The University of Hong Kong, The University of Oxford, The University of Queensland and a consortium led by Institut Pasteur. The first clinical trial of a CEPI-supported vaccine is already underway, and CEPI's ambition is to have at least three vaccine candidates which could be submitted to regulatory authorities for licensure for general use.

Ensuring equitable access to vaccines

When a vaccine becomes available there will be global demand, so it is vital that a system for equitable access is in place to ensure that those who most need the vaccine get priority access.

This is a challenge that must be urgently and collectively addressed by governments, global health leaders, and regulators while COVID-19 vaccine development is continuing. Global support for our partners at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will be vital to ensure a vaccine, once developed, is rolled out worldwide.

Image credit: Themis