In the fight against novel COVID-19 variants, Norway and Germany provide vital additional funds to CEPI

Bjørg Dystvold Nilsson

Norway, one of the co-founders of CEPI, announced this week that it will contribute US $24 million (NOK 200 million) towards CEPI's R&D efforts to future-proof vaccines against current and future variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The financial commitment follows the US $145 million (EUR 120 million) donation announced by the Government of Germany last week following the extraordinary G7 virtual summit to support CEPI's COVID-19 vaccine programmes. The funding is as part of a wider US $1.82 billion (EUR 1.5 billion) donation package to partners of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

These investments come at a critical time of the COVID-19 pandemic, with CEPI seeking to expand its efforts and respond to the rapidly evolving crisis.

We are incredibly grateful for both Norway and Germany's unwavering support for CEPI's work from the very start of our creation, and not least for our efforts to help stop this catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to thank Norway and Germany for their never-failing leadership in global health, most recently by taking a leading role in the Access to COVID-19 Tools-Accelerator to enable equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics, and tests for all countries regardless of income.

While this week's landmark delivery of the first shipment of COVAX doses to Ghana represented a signature moment after over a year's worth of work and was incredibly energizing for global efforts, and recent demonstrations of the real-world effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines are highly encouraging, this funding comes at the right time when the world has entered a new and much less predictable phase of the pandemic.

The new virus variants pose a threat we cannot ignore, and CEPI is stepping up its research and development to bring these variants under control.

Dr. Richard HatchettChief Executive Officer, CEPI

Both Norway and Germany are long-term partners and two of the biggest investors in CEPI's work. Norway was one of CEPI's founding members when the organisation launched, in the wake of the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic, as the result of a consensus that a coordinated, international, and intergovernmental plan was needed to develop and deploy new vaccines to prevent future epidemics. The Government of Germany also provided significant financial contributions to advance CEPI's mission in 2017 through the German Federal Minister of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) and again in 2020 to support the establishment of CEPI's COVID-19 vaccine portfolio.

The new funding will support CEPI's goal of raising $1 billion in 2021 to carry out critical R&D to future-proof vaccines against emerging variants, maximise the available supply of vaccines, and fill in current clinical research and development gaps to optimise the use of the vaccines we have.