19 Jan 2022
OSLO, Norway; January 19, 2022 –The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) this week celebrates its fifth birthday with US$300 million in pledges from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome to help fund its work on ending the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and its global plan to take the threat of future pandemics off the table. The two philanthropic foundations were co-founders of CEPI at Davos in 2017, alongside the Governments of Norway and India, and the World Economic Forum.
The financial pledges—which together contribute towards the coalition’s $3.5 billion fundraising target—will help advance CEPI’s efforts to further COVID-19 vaccine R&D through investments in the development of the ‘next generation’ of COVID-19 vaccines, designed to protect against newly emerging variants and for use in low-resource settings.
The funding commitments will also provide critical support to ambitious initiatives set out by CEPI in its six-point pandemic preparedness plan to build a future world that is better prepared for emerging infectious disease outbreaks.
CEPI aims to reduce global epidemic and pandemic risk by preparing for known disease threats through the development of vaccines against its priority pathogens (Chikungunya, Lassa fever, MERS, Nipah, Rift Valley fever) and making them globally accessible. Focussing on Disease X, CEPI’s plan also aims to build on innovations seen in the current pandemic and transform the response to the next novel coronavirus by developing all-in-one coronavirus vaccines designed to protect against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants and other Betacoronaviruses*. Such tools could take the world beyond the current ‘one bug, one drug’ method and provide broad protection against current and future coronavirus threats.
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI
Chair of CEPI
Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
CEPI has also set out a moonshot objective which, with the support of others, could enable the world to reduce vaccine development timelines to 100 days. The ambitious goal, endorsed by the G7 and G20 and termed the 100 Days Mission, would give the world a fighting chance of containing an outbreak before it spirals into a pandemic, saving thousands if not millions of lives, preventing global economic damage, and limiting the possible emergence of dangerous variants.
UK Government Minister for Global Health
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome will each provide US$150 million to push forward CEPI’s efforts. These critical pledges come as CEPI moves towards its pioneering Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit, to be hosted in March 2022 by the UK Government. The Summit will bring together leading figures from governments, industry, philanthropy, and civil society to unite behind this revolutionary aim in global health security and back the $3.5 billion investment needed to end pandemics.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia
Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control
CEPI has overseen a number of scientific breakthroughs in the development of vaccines against global health threats since its inception in 2017, including the first Phase 3 trial of a Chikungunya vaccine and the advancement of the first ever Nipah and Lassa virus vaccines into Phase 1 trials.
The coalition also played a pivotal role in the global response to COVID-19, moving quickly to create one of the world’s largest and most diverse portfolios of 14 COVID-19 vaccines, three of which are now saving lives around the world**. The only public sector funder of R&D, CEPI has leveraged its investments to enable equitable access to vaccines, and COVAX—co-led by CEPI—has legally binding commitments in place to access up to 3 billion doses of CEPI-funded COVID-19 vaccines for equitable distribution.
CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics. Prior to COVID-19, CEPI’s work focused on developing vaccines against the Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and Chikungunya virus. It has over 20 vaccine candidates against these pathogens in development. CEPI has also invested in new platform technologies for rapid vaccine development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).
During the current pandemic, CEPI initiated multiple programmes to develop vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants with a focus on speed, scale, and access. These programmes leverage the rapid response platforms developed by CEPI’s partners prior to the emergence of COVID-19, as well as new collaborations. The aim is to advance clinical development of a diverse portfolio of safe and effective COVID-19 candidates and to enable fair allocation of these vaccines worldwide through COVAX.
CEPI’s 5-year plan lays out a $3.5 billion roadmap to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days, develop a broadly protective vaccine against COVID-19 and other Betacoronaviruses, and create a “library” of vaccine candidates for use against known and unknown pathogens. The plan is available at https://endpandemics.cepi.net/
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*Betacoronaviruses are types of coronavirus that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which have been responsible for major epidemics in Asia and the Middle East in recent years, and also SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
**CEPI’s early investments in Oxford/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate supported the development of a vaccine, which is now saving lives around the world. Last month, Novavax’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine—funded largely by CEPI—received World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing and is poised to help efforts to control the pandemic globally. More than 1 billion doses of the Novavax vaccine are now accessible to COVAX, the global initiative co-led by CEPI that aims to deliver equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. CEPI also provided initial funding to support the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.