06 Oct 2021
Prof. Dame Sarah Gilbert, co-developer of the ChAdOx1 nCov-19 coronavirus vaccine, and Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), have today jointly authored a letter, published in Science Translational Medicine, in which they call for urgent action to address the ongoing disparity in COVID-19 vaccination levels in low-income countries compared to high-income countries.
In this, they detail the current situation in regard to global COVID-19 vaccinations efforts (including through COVAX*), in the light of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, and discuss what is needed, in the coming months, to bring an end to the pandemic. They note the importance of the ongoing need for additional clinical trial data to aid global understanding on vaccine effectiveness and vaccine safety, while also providing further information on, for example, dose scheduling, to better guide immunisation strategies and allow for these life-saving vaccines to be optimised for use for maximum public health impact.
The letter also notes that, as COVID-19 vaccine dose supplies are set to ramp up in the coming months, attention must now be placed on in-country readiness efforts to ensure that COVAX recipient countries have the absorptive capacity to support delivery at scale.
Jenner Institute & Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI
For a copy of the paper, or to request an interview, please contact (note Prof. Gilbert is not available for interviews at this time):
University of Oxford Press Office
CEPI Press Office
+44 7387 055214
Images of Prof. Dame Sarah Gilbert are available here:
NOTE: these must be credited © University of Oxford / John Cairns
Images of Dr Richard Hatchett are available here
* COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-convened by CEPI, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.
CEPI is funding R&D programmes to provide additional clinical data on the performance of existing COVID-19 vaccines, while also advancing the next-generation of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Through these efforts, CEPI is working to increase global supply and ultimately protect vulnerable populations worldwide. CEPI and its COVAX partners are also calling on donors and manufacturers to recommit their support and prevent further delays to equitable access through increased dose donations, and prioritising COVAX doses in COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing queues.
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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 Ebola virus, 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 previously 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 to 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 universal 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 endpandemics.cepi.net.