Vaccine technology

Vaccines are a potent weapon against infectious diseases and are at the heart of global responses to epidemic and pandemic threats. CEPI supports cutting-edge technologies that can accelerate the development of safe, effective and accessible vaccines against emerging disease outbreaks.

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Creating lifesaving vaccines in 100 days

Over the past century, vaccines have helped give humankind an edge in the evolutionary arms race between viruses and our immune systems’ ability to adapt to their disease-causing potential.

Over the past century, vaccines have even helped to eradicate deadly diseases such as smallpox. Now, they save 2-3 million lives a year and even help combat certain types of cancer, such as cervical and throat cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). The impact of COVID-19 vaccines has been even more striking. In the first year of their rollout during the pandemic, vaccines saved 20 million lives.

Our vision is for the world to be able to respond to the next Disease X with a new vaccine in 100 days. Known as the 100 Days Mission, this goal lies at the heart of CEPI’s plan to end pandemics and has also been embraced by leaders of the G7 and G20. CEPI supports innovations in key vaccine technologies that will ultimately help the world respond faster and effectively to such threats in the future. 

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Supporting development of platform technologies

As COVID-19 showed the world, the next Disease X is an ever-present threat. Vaccine platform technologies are essential for rapid responses to emerging viral threats. Vaccine platform technologies are systems that use the same basic components as a backbone but can be adapted for use against different pathogens by inserting new genetic or protein sequences. Techniques for platform manufacturing can be set up for rapid use against Disease X. Over time, as regulatory authorities gain experience with and gather data on a platform technology through its use, they will likely become more comfortable about rapidly moving new vaccines into clinical trials. This has been the case with Flu vaccines, which are developed every year on an existing vaccine platform technology.

We support a wide range of viral-vector-based, nucleic-acid-based, and recombinant-protein-based vaccine platforms. CEPI’s work to develop platform technologies against Disease X and priority-pathogen vaccines are also yielding critical data and insights that will help the world accomplish the 100 Days Mission. Check out our R&D portfolio to learn more about our wide range of platform-technology investments.  

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Priority-pathogen vaccines

Alongside its work on Disease X, CEPI is working to develop vaccines against ‘priority pathogens’ that each have epidemic or pandemic potential. Many of these emerging or re-emerging priority pathogens already cause immeasurable human suffering and economic damage, so vaccines are urgently needed.  

CEPI has supported the development of over 30 vaccine candidates against its priority pathogens—Chikungunya virus, Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and SARS-CoV-2—and is a leading funder of research into broadly protective coronavirus vaccines, which could protect against future variants of COVID-19 as well as other coronaviruses with epidemic and pandemic potential. The coalition has also invested in the development of rapid response platforms to develop vaccines against Disease X (the threat of an unknown virus). 

CEPI has overseen a number of scientific breakthroughs, including the first Phase 3 trial of a Chikungunya vaccine and the advancement of the first ever Nipah and Lassa vaccines into Phase 1 trials. It has played a central role in the global response to COVID-19, supporting the development of one of the world’s largest portfolios of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, seven of which have been approved for domestic or global use. It also co-led COVAX, the global initiative to deliver fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, which has delivered approximately 2 billion doses of vaccine to 146 countries around the world. CEPI’s work to develop platform technologies against Disease X and priority-pathogen vaccines will also yield critical data and insights that will help the world accomplish the 100 Days Mission. 

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The Global Vaccine Library

A critical enabler of the 100 Days Mission is the establishment of the Global Vaccine Library. Fewer than 300 viruses are known to be able to infect people, and only a small fraction of these have “pandemic potential.” The viruses known to infect humans all derive from approximately 25 viral families. Having at least one, and ideally several, prototype vaccines against representative viruses for every viral family with demonstrated ability to infect humans will mean that when a new Disease X emerges, almost certainly from one of these families, a prototype can be pulled off the shelf and adapted rapidly to address the new pathogen.   

The Global Vaccine Library will have a focus on pathogens with pandemic potential, collecting information on pathogens (most likely the initial focus), vaccine platforms and vaccine technologies, and products. CEPI’s role in this endeavour will be as part of a coalition. The Disease X activities that CEPI is supporting are an early investment that will contribute to the establishment of the Global Vaccine Library, for example, by funding activities for virus families like paramyxoviruses (Nipah) and arenaviruses (Lassa) and for Disease X     

CEPI is actively seeking a coalition to further develop the guidelines and principles to enable partners to catalyse information sharing and incrementally build the Global Vaccine Library.  It is advocating for greater coordination among R&D funders in support of a Global Vaccine Library to solve many of the challenges of vaccine design in advance to speed the development of vaccines against new viruses. CEPI is also advocating for the Pandemic Accord to create the normative framework to enable such a library.  

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Enabling science

From biological standards to preclinical models, CEPI supports enabling science activities to accelerate development of safe and effective epidemic or pandemic vaccines. Read on to learn about the enabling science activities that CEPI supports.

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Manufacturing and supply chain

CEPI is bolstering global manufacturing capacity in underserved regions and harnessing innovative technologies to improve the speed, scale and access of vaccine manufacturing in response to epidemic and pandemic threats.

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Our portfolio

Our interactive portfolio provides information on each of the vaccine candidates that CEPI has invested in.

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Calls for Proposals

Innovators worldwide are invited to apply to our scientific programmes to advance the development and manufacture of vaccines and tools against epidemic and pandemic threats.

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