Netherlands and Switzerland join the search for COVID-19 vaccines


The governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland have announced their financial support for CEPI's vital COVID-19 vaccine development programme. The Government of the Netherlands has contributed an initial €50 million (US$54.5 million), while the Swiss Government has invested CHF10 million (US$10.3 million) to fund CEPI's urgent work to defeat the COVID-19 virus.

In March 2020 CEPI issued an urgent call for $2 billion of funding to develop safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, which could put a permanent end to the devastation caused by the virus. The Netherlands and Switzerland are the latest in a growing coalition of nations and investors to answer this call, and the total sum pledged towards the US$2 billion target now stands at US$765 million.

CEPI is extremely grateful to the governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland for their generous contributions to the hunt for safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19. The virus has already claimed a devastating 139,000 lives around the world, and until we have a vaccine in our armoury of weapons against COVID-19, it will be impossible to fully defeat it. No one country can fight COVID-19 alone, so global collaboration is key to ending this pandemic. It is heartening to see the Netherlands and Switzerland join a growing list of nations to commit funds to our work, and we continue to call upon the international community to be a part of this movement. Vaccines are our best exit strategy, so contributing now to vaccine development is the best long-term investment we can make.”

Dr. Richard HatchettChief Executive Officer, CEPI

CEPI has also received an initial disbursement of US$10 million from the UN Foundation Solidarity Fund, a fundraising platform which allows individuals, companies and organisations to donate in support of global efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 trials of CEPI-supported vaccines are 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.

Main image caption: This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Credit: NIAID-RML