Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome pledge $300 million to CEPI to fight COVID-19 and combat threat of future pandemics

19 Jan 2022

By CEPI


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This news announcement forms part of CEPI’s 100 Days Mission, a campaign delving into how we can compress the vaccine development timeline to 100 days, while also counting down to CEPI’s Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit taking place in March, 2022.
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New funding commitments will support CEPI’s goal to condense new vaccine development timelines to 100 days, a third of the time it took to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Pledges contribute towards CEPI’s $3.5billion replenishment target, set for a Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit to be hosted by the UK Government in March 2022.

 

OSLO, Norway; January 19, 2022 –The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) this week celebrates its fifth birthday with US$300 million in pledges from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome to help fund its work on ending the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and its global plan to take the threat of future pandemics off the table. The two philanthropic foundations were co-founders of CEPI at Davos in 2017, alongside the Governments of Norway and India, and the World Economic Forum.

The financial pledges—which together contribute towards the coalition’s $3.5 billion fundraising target—will help advance CEPI’s efforts to further COVID-19 vaccine R&D through investments in the development of the ‘next generation’ of COVID-19 vaccines, designed to protect against newly emerging variants and for use in low-resource settings.

The funding commitments will also provide critical support to ambitious initiatives set out by CEPI in its six-point pandemic preparedness plan to build a future world that is better prepared for emerging infectious disease outbreaks.

CEPI aims to reduce global epidemic and pandemic risk by preparing for known disease threats through the development of vaccines against its priority pathogens (Chikungunya, Lassa fever, MERS, Nipah, Rift Valley fever) and making them globally accessible. Focussing on Disease X, CEPI’s plan also aims to build on innovations seen in the current pandemic and transform the response to the next novel coronavirus by developing all-in-one coronavirus vaccines designed to protect against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants and other Betacoronaviruses*. Such tools could take the world beyond the current ‘one bug, one drug’ method and provide broad protection against current and future coronavirus threats.

The crucial funds that have been pledged set CEPI on a positive trajectory towards our ultimate US$3.5 billion funding goal. Achieving this funding target will enable CEPI to further advance, and enable equitable access to, life-saving vaccines and help the world develop ground-breaking new technologies including universal vaccines against Betacoronaviruses.

Both these Foundations have shown incredible leadership with regards to global health, and we are enormously grateful to them for their visionary contribution to our work. If fully funded, CEPI’s ambitious plan will revolutionise the way the world deals with future epidemics and could prevent us ever again having to suffer the devastation of a pandemic like COVID-19.

The future we envisage can only be only realised if the world steps up now to make the investments needed to build on the scientific advances made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. CEPI calls on political, industry, academic, philanthropic, and civil society leaders to join us and support our bold plan.

Dr. Richard Hatchett

Chief Executive Officer, CEPI

There is still so much more to do for COVID-19. We need more research to improve vaccines, including to boost their ability to protect against variants, and we need to continue to work tirelessly on equitable distribution. We must also seize this moment to make sure we are better prepared for the future: we know the emergence of future epidemics is not a case of “if” but “when”.

For the first time in history, we can credibly aim to reduce or even prevent this deadly threat. The financial pledges announced today allow CEPI to partner with more world-leading vaccine developers and scientific organisations to revolutionise the world’s preparedness and response. The time to act is now.

Jane Halton

Chair of CEPI

Five years ago, Wellcome proudly co-founded CEPI. Within this short timeframe, the coalition has made staggering progress, working tirelessly to support research into deadly infectious diseases such as Lassa & Nipah, and most recently on COVID-19 vaccines and planning for future threats.

We have to be better prepared, learn the lessons and avoid repeating the same mistakes. In doing so, we will create a safer world for future generations. This is why we are announcing further funding towards CEPI’s replenishment campaign – to create a world better prepared for outbreaks and to avoid future tragedies. The importance of long-term investment in CEPI has never been clearer.

As the world faces the grim consequences of a continuously evolving coronavirus pandemic, the ability to rapidly develop and deliver new tools to address current and future health threats has never been greater.

By investing now in collaborative approaches to global health, the world will save millions of lives and trillions of dollars later on by ending the acute phase of this pandemic sooner, while also preventing or preparing for the next pandemic, and easing the heavy burden of longstanding epidemics.

Our foundation is pleased to be supporting CEPI in its vital work through our commitment and calls on global leaders to increase their own commitments to CEPI’s critical work.

Bill Gates

Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

CEPI has also set out a moonshot objective which, with the support of others, could enable the world to reduce vaccine development timelines to 100 days. The ambitious goal, endorsed by the G7 and G20 and termed the 100 Days Mission, would give the world a fighting chance of containing an outbreak before it spirals into a pandemic, saving thousands if not millions of lives, preventing global economic damage, and limiting the possible emergence of dangerous variants.

I welcome the funding pledges today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome to support CEPI’s vital work and bold pandemic preparedness plan.

The UK is a long-term partner and funder of CEPI, and we look forward to hosting the Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit in March. Raising funds for vaccine research and cutting vaccine development to 100 days can help the world protect itself against COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Minister Milling

UK Government Minister for Global Health

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome will each provide US$150 million to push forward CEPI’s efforts. These critical pledges come as CEPI moves towards its pioneering Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit, to be hosted in March 2022 by the UK Government. The Summit will bring together leading figures from governments, industry, philanthropy, and civil society to unite behind this revolutionary aim in global health security and back the $3.5 billion investment needed to end pandemics.

We have all seen the terrible effects of this pandemic – many have lost their lives and the economic damage felt globally has been huge. We have also witnessed the great power of science to work with unprecedented skill and intensity to meet the challenges of the virus. CEPI has played a really important role in that helping develop vaccines and critically also working to ensure there is a more equitable distribution of them globally.

We now must have two immediate objectives – to end this pandemic as soon as possible and to ensure that the world is better prepared when the next crisis hits. CEPI has an important part to play in both and has laid out a bold vision to support those goals.

Her Excellency Retno L.P. Marsudi

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia

Over the course of this COVID-19 pandemic we have seen great scientific progress with the rapid development of a variety of vaccines. Unfortunately, this has been associated with unacceptable inequity with respect to access especially in the less resourced parts of the world. Importantly, this tells us that the development of an effective vaccine against Lassa fever and other viral haemorrhagic fevers can be a reality if the global community considers it a priority.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has worked collaboratively with CEPI and other partners over the past few years towards the realisation of this goal. We eagerly look forward to and are committed to a global response that will revolutionise the response to viral haemorrhagic fevers - which have been in existence for decades - and other potential infectious threats in our region and other parts of the world.

Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa

Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

Five years of CEPI: Rapid response to COVID-19 and other deadly diseases

CEPI has overseen a number of scientific breakthroughs in the development of vaccines against global health threats since its inception in 2017, including the first Phase 3 trial of a Chikungunya vaccine and the advancement of the first ever Nipah and Lassa virus vaccines into Phase 1 trials.

The coalition also played a pivotal role in the global response to COVID-19, moving quickly to create one of the world’s largest and most diverse portfolios of 14 COVID-19 vaccines, three of which are now saving lives around the world**. The only public sector funder of R&D, CEPI has leveraged its investments to enable equitable access to vaccines, and COVAX—co-led by CEPI—has legally binding commitments in place to access up to 3 billion doses of CEPI-funded COVID-19 vaccines for equitable distribution.

Learn more about CEPI’s $3.5 billion plan here.
For more information about CEPI’s 100 Days Mission, visit here.
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About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics. Prior to COVID-19, CEPI’s work focused on developing vaccines against the Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and Chikungunya virus. It has over 20 vaccine candidates against these pathogens in development. CEPI has also invested in new platform technologies for rapid vaccine development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).

During the current pandemic, CEPI initiated multiple programmes to develop vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants with a focus on speed, scale, and access. These programmes leverage the rapid response platforms developed by CEPI’s partners prior to the emergence of COVID-19, as well as new collaborations. The aim is to advance clinical development of a diverse portfolio of safe and effective COVID-19 candidates and to enable fair allocation of these vaccines worldwide through COVAX.

CEPI’s 5-year plan lays out a $3.5 billion roadmap to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days, develop a broadly protective vaccine against COVID-19 and other Betacoronaviruses, and create a “library” of vaccine candidates for use against known and unknown pathogens. The plan is available at https://endpandemics.cepi.net/

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Follow us via @CEPIvaccines@DrRHatchett, and on LinkedIn.

 

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*Betacoronaviruses are types of coronavirus that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which have been responsible for major epidemics in Asia and the Middle East in recent years, and also SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

**CEPI’s early investments in Oxford/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate supported the development of a vaccine, which is now saving lives around the world. Last month, Novavax’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine—funded largely by CEPI—received World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing and is poised to help efforts to control the pandemic globally. More than 1 billion doses of the Novavax vaccine are now accessible to COVAX, the global initiative co-led by CEPI that aims to deliver equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. CEPI also provided initial funding to support the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

 


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