NORWAY – The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has raised more than US$1.5 billion to develop vaccines against emerging diseases in as little as 100 days at a pandemic preparedness summit co-hosted by the UK government.

CEPI’s overall budget request is US$3.5 billion to carry out its five-year plan to prepare for and protect against “Disease X,” the unknown pathogen that will cause the next pandemic.

The UK government has pledged £160 million ($210 million), alongside pledges from Japan, Germany, Australia, the United States and Norway as well as the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

It has created a roadmap to reduce vaccine development time to 100 days, develop a vaccine that is broadly protective against COVID-19 and other Betacoronaviruses, and create a “library” of vaccine candidates for use against known and unknown pathogens.

it took approximately 300 days from the release of Covid-19’s genetic code to the approval of the first vaccines at the end of 2020.

Next time, the response must be much faster, according to Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

CEPI announced that it will collaborate with UK-based DIOSynVax – a biotech company affiliated with the University of Cambridge that specializes in the development of broadly protective, multi-virus vaccine antigen payloads (VAPs).

This will fund work to save millions of lives, prevent trillions of pounds in economic damage and ensure the world comes out of this pandemic stronger for the future.”

Liz Truss, UK Foreign Secretary.


Betacoronavirus vaccine candidate

DIOSynVax will contribute to the development of a vaccine candidate based on “intelligent computational design” against existing and future variants of SARS-CoV-2 and other major sub-genera of Betacoronaviruses, including those causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

The concept of a 100-day mission arose from leaders’ commitment at the G7 meeting in June last year to “support science in a mission to shorten the cycle for the development of safe and effective vaccines, treatments, and tests from 300 to 100 days.”

CEPI’s five-year strategy aims to make the development of vaccines against emerging pathogens within 100 days a reality, because the quicker a safe, effective and globally accessible vaccine is developed and deployed, the quicker an incipient pandemic can be contained and controlled,” the organization said in a statement.

Achieving the 100 Day Mission, through CEPI’s innovative programme of access-focused R&D, would give the world a fighting chance of defusing the threat of future pathogens with pandemic potential.”

Global pandemic accord

Dr Tedros said that the pandemic has taught the world “the incredible power of surveillance, genomics, diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics” – but it had also exposed gaps and weaknesses in the global ecosystem.

Negotiations on an international pandemic accord were beginning in order “to establish the rules of the road for a more cohesive and harmonized global response to future epidemics and pandemics – including the equitable sharing of countermeasures.

Dr Tedros said that the pandemic has taught the world “the incredible power of surveillance, genomics, diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics” – but it had also exposed gaps and weaknesses in the global ecosystem.

Meanwhile, vaccine manufacturers’ associations, as well as the broader biotech and biopharmaceutical industry, and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), have committed to investing in R&D aimed at “targeting pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential and building a portfolio of promising candidate vaccines, treatments, and technologies.”

In most recent developments, Moderna has announced that it would begin developing vaccines for 15 known virus threats. The company from the United States will also make its messenger RNA (mRNA) technology available to researchers working on new vaccines for emerging and neglected diseases.

In addition, the pharmaceutical company announced that it would permanently waive its COVID-19 vaccine patents for shots intended for poorer countries.

It does not intend, however, to share its vaccine recipe with the WHO-supported technology transfer hub in South Africa, which is attempting to replicate its mRNA vaccine.

Liked this article? Sign up to receive our regular email newsletters, focused on Africa and World’s healthcare industry, directly into your inbox. SUBSCRIBE HERE