UK boosts support for CEPI to spur COVID-19 vaccine development


UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced today a £210 million (US$270 million) boost in funding for CEPI. The announcement followed a virtual conference with G20 leaders and acknowledged the coalition's recent global call for $2 billion to progress COVID-19 vaccines through to manufacture.

While our brilliant doctors and nurses fight coronavirus at home, this record British funding will help to find a vaccine for the entire world. UK medics and researchers are at the forefront of this pioneering work.

My call to every G20 country and to governments around the world is to step up and help us defeat this virus.

Boris JohnsonPrime Minister of the United Kingdom

The UK's announcement builds on the £50 million already given by the UK Government to CEPI to support its vaccine development work against COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases.

This is the largest single contribution to CEPI by any country. The UK Prime Minister also called on other governments to work together to create a vaccine as quickly as possible and make it available to anyone who needs it.

CEPI is extremely grateful for this substantial contribution from the UK Government. This decisive action and financial support from the UK Government comes at a pivotal moment for a world that is in crisis. The UK has a long history of global health leadership and, today, the UK is once again stepping up as a global leader in its support CEPI and our crucial work to accelerate the development of a vaccine against COVID-19

We face one of the greatest challenges humankind has faced in the last century: a disease that has spread globally, that is most dangerous to the most vulnerable members of our society, and that threatens our economic order and very way of life

Dr. Richard HatchettChief Executive Officer, CEPI

Driving vaccine development

To date, CEPI has initiated 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 to develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Further financial support for CEPI's COVID-19 efforts has been provided by the Governments of Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. CEPI has so far received over $430 million towards its $2 billion funding goal.

In February, 2020, CEPI made an urgent call for $2 billion to support the development of a vaccine against the virus responsible for COVID-19. This funding will enable CEPI to expand the number of vaccine candidates in development and fund the clinical trials for these candidate vaccines. CEPI's ambition is to have at least 3 vaccine candidates, which could be submitted to regulatory authorities for licensure for general use and use in outbreaks.

Developing vaccines is the most cost-effective way to save lives and to neutralize the grave threat posed by COVID-19. To date, CEPI has initiated eight COVID-19 vaccine projects. This financial boost from the UK will help us continue our rapid progress towards producing safe and effective vaccines, which are globally accessible, within the next 12 to 18 months. The world must collectively address equitable access to any COVID-19 vaccine, and Gavi's role in securing equitable access will be vital.

Dr. Richard HatchettChief Executive Officer, CEPI

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: Sergeant Tom Robinson RLC/MOD