COVID-19 virus (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells.
The governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland have announced their financial support for CEPI’s vital COVID-19 vaccine development programme. The Government of the Netherlands has contributed an initial €50 million (US$54.5 million), while the Swiss Government has invested CHF10 million (US$10.3 million) to fund CEPI’s urgent work to defeat the COVID-19 virus.
In March 2020 CEPI issued an urgent call for $2 billion of funding to develop safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, which could put a permanent end to the devastation caused by the virus. The Netherlands and Switzerland are the latest in a growing coalition of nations and investors to answer this call, and the total sum pledged towards the US$2 billion target now stands at US$765 million.
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI
CEPI has also received an initial disbursement of US$10 million from the UN Foundation Solidarity Fund, a fundraising platform which allows individuals, companies and organisations to donate in support of global efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEPI has worked at unprecedented speed to initiate eight COVID-19 vaccine development projects with Curevac, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, Novavax, The University of Hong Kong, The University of Oxford, The University of Queensland and a consortium led by Institut Pasteur. The first clinical trials of CEPI-supported vaccines are already underway, and CEPI’s ambition is to have at least three vaccine candidates which could be submitted to regulatory authorities for licensure for general use.
When a vaccine becomes available there will be global demand, so it is vital that a system for equitable access 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 COVID-19 vaccine development is continuing. Global support for our partners at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will be vital to ensure a vaccine, once developed, is rolled out worldwide.
Main image caption: This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Credit: NIAID-RML