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CEPI launches plan to tackle risk of future pandemics

Coronavirus Credit NIAID

CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, has launched a USD 3.5 billion plan to dramatically reduce or even eliminate the future risk of pandemics and epidemics.

CEPI’s five-year plan sets out initiatives to build a future world that is better equipped to deal with these devastating diseases. As part of the plan, CEPI announced its “moonshot” objective to help compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days, about a third of the time that it took the world to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, they state in a press release.

CEPI is calling on governments, global health organizations, and strategic partners to back this critical investment in global health security, taking advantage of the revolution in vaccinology that has been catalyzed by COVID-19. CEPI’s plan will not only accelerate vaccine development and reduce the threat posed by future epidemics and pandemics, it will also enable equitable access to these life-saving innovations for the most vulnerable populations, it states.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccines: CEPI steps up

A critical point in human history

“We are at a critical point in human history. We now have the tools to dramatically reduce or eliminate the risk of future epidemics and pandemics. Achieving such a goal will take a coordinated and collective global response, and CEPI’s contributions will be central to this long-term global effort.We must invest now in the vaccines and biologic countermeasures that we need, while linking these investments with commitments to equitable access. The USD 3.5 billion CEPI needs to implement our five-year strategy represents a critical down payment towards the goal of a world safe from the devastating effects of epidemic and pandemic diseases,” says Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer, CEPI.

CEPI will allocate the funding to prepare for known epidemic and pandemic threats, transform the response to the next novel threat, and connect and enhance global collaboration to strengthen global preparedness.

6 X Actions

CEPI will work to substantially reduce global epidemic and pandemic risk by:

1.Strengthening our defenses against COVID-19 and reducing the risk of future coronavirus pandemics, by optimizing our current vaccines, addressing variants of concern, developing next-generation COVID-19 vaccines, and initiating the development of broadly protective or universal coronavirus vaccines.

2.Developing vaccines for known threats, to include completing the development of vaccines for Chikungunya, Lassa Fever, Nipah, and MERS, advancing the development of vaccines against Rift Valley Fever, and completing additional clinical trials to broaden the populations eligible for the Ebola vaccines.

3.Working to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days by optimizing the capabilities of rapid response platforms including mRNA, preparing clinical trial networks to respond rapidly to new threats, working closely with global regulators to streamline regulatory requirements, and linking manufacturing facilities to enable rapid production of pandemic vaccines.

4.Producing a library of prototype vaccines and other biological interventions against representative pathogens from critical viral families. The “library of prototype vaccines” will be developed through phase 1 clinical trials and use rapid response platforms that will allow rapid adaptation if related viruses emerge.

5. Establishing global networks for lab capacity, assays, and preclinical models that are critical for rapid vaccine development and developing arrangements with existing national or regional clinical trial and manufacturing networks.

6. Supporting the efforts of low- and middle-income countries to take full ownership of their national health security by developing the infrastructure and expertise to conduct epidemiological and clinical studies, support technology transfer, and establish national and regional vaccine manufacturing.

Image caption: This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (pink) cultured in the lab. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana. Credit: NIAID