CEPI: new global coalition to fight epidemics officially launched
In response to the urgent call for new vaccines to treat emerging infectious diseases, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, established a global coalition in January 2017 that is committed to developing safe and effective vaccines against known infectious disease threats.
Buoyed by an initial investment of US$460m from the governments of Germany, Japan, and Norway, plus investments from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, ECPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) will begin work on thwarting epidemics like Zika, which emerge suddenly and do not respond to existing vaccines.
The coalition needs to raise a total of $1bn for its first five years, and is calling for proposals from researchers and companies around the world to support the development of vaccines that could be deployed rapidly to contain outbreaks of viruses such as MERS-CoV, Lassa, and Nipah, before they become global health emergencies. CEPI also hopes to shorten the time it takes to develop new vaccines while it scopes out potential support for vaccines against multiple strains of Ebola and Marburg, as well as Zika.
The initial CEPI funders are calling for other governments and philanthropic organizations to help raise the needed funds by the end of 2017.
According to Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway: “(Epidemics) respect no borders and don’t care if we are rich or poor. Protecting the vulnerable is protecting ourselves.”
Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “Ebola and Zika showed that the world is tragically unprepared to detect local outbreaks and respond quickly enough to prevent them from becoming global pandemics. Without investments in research and development, we will remain unequipped when we face the next threat.”
CEPI is also backed by major pharmaceutical corporations, the World Health Organization, and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, as well as philanthropies and leading academic vaccine research groups.