The COVID-19 pandemic poses one of the greatest challenges humankind has faced in the past century. While social distancing measures have been put in place to limit the spread of the virus, vaccines, alongside therapeutics and diagnostics, are the world’s permanent exit strategy.

CEPI advances 8 COVID-19 vaccine programmes

Since initial case reports in Hubei Province, China, CEPI has moved quickly and urgently to coordinate with the World Health Organization, vaccine-development partners and others to respond to this threat.

To date, we have announced a diverse portfolio of eight programmes to rapidly develop vaccines against COVID-19. Backed with up to $29.2 million of funding, this includes four rapid response programmes (Moderna Inc., CureVac, Inovio and University of Queensland) using pioneering technologies designed to accelerate the development of vaccines, and four programmes (with Novavax, University of Hong Kong, University of Oxford, and a consortium led by Institut Pasteur including Themis Bioscience and University of Pittsburgh) as a result of a recent global Call for Proposals which invited applications from proven vaccine technologies.

Phase 1 clinical trials launch

Marking a historic step forward, Moderna Inc. and Inovio have already launched their Phase 1 clinical trials to test the safety and immunogenicity of their candidate vaccines in record-setting speed.

CEPI has also collaborated with GSK to make its established pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform technology available to CEPI partners to enhance the development of an effective vaccine.

While there are no guarantees of success, we are working as fast and as hard as we can to develop a safe and effective vaccine that may be available for broader use within 12-18 months.

When a vaccine becomes available there will be global demand, so it is vital that a system 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 vaccine development continues.

$2 billion funding required

Last month, CEPI issued an urgent $2 billion funding call to advance its vaccine programmes. This is part of an $8 billion COVID-19 research and development funding shortfall, highlighted by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board.

The Governments of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, and the UK have now committed over $690 million funding (35%) towards CEPI’s efforts. Private sector companies Citadel, Ndemic, WePlay and LuluLemon, are also providing funding.

As a substantial funding gap remains, CEPI, together with Wellcome, is calling on the private sector to join COVID-Zero, a coalition that can help bridge this funding shortfall and get society back on track.

CEPI has also launched an Expression of Interest requesting information from entities able to serve as possible sponsors or to provide operational trial support for future COVID-19 clinical trials. If you are interested in submitting information to our Expression of Interest, please apply here (Deadline Sunday 19 April, 15:00CET).

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