19 May 2021
May 19 2021, Oslo, Norway – The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, has launched a new survey to map the landscape of vaccine manufacturing capacity and capability in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.
The survey aims to build on the landscaping exercises performed over the last year by CEPI in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and separately by UNICEF—identifying potential global COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity—and expand this to also consider all other vaccine production efforts, against other diseases, either currently in place or to be established across these four regions. CEPI will use the data collected through the survey to create a first-of-its-kind map to improve vaccine manufacturing activities to guide cross-border vaccine production efforts when preparing and responding to future epidemics and pandemics.
This lookahead effort is running in parallel to ongoing work led by CEPI on behalf of the COVAX Vaccine Manufacturing Taskforce, working with vaccine manufacturing bodies to minimise current bottlenecks in the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain to help optimise global vaccine production and enable equitable access to vaccines worldwide through COVAX.
Much of the data on potential vaccine production is currently recorded on a regional rather than international basis. Invitations to take part in the mapping exercise have therefore been sent out to vaccine manufacturers, global health organisations, and government agencies already monitoring vaccine manufacturing capabilities in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. These key geographies are being prioritised as part of the survey as this is predominantly thought to be where vaccine production capabilities and capacities need to be established and/or expanded.
As part of the survey, CEPI will collect information on the names of all vaccine manufacturers or contract manufacturing organisations within these regions and the location(s) where their site/s are based. The exercise will also ask for data on the vaccine capacity and capabilities at production sites and their focus vaccine platform and target pathogen/s, as well as information on packaging and labelling, warehousing, and storage and distribution capabilities.
Responses to the survey will be collated to produce a vaccine manufacturing capacity and capabilities map, with the data to be made freely available in the coming months. The data will also be used to guide workshops—to be run by CEPI later this year—which will invite global partners to identify where manufacturing efforts need to be established, improved and/or expanded within the four regions.
Sustainable Manufacturing Lead, CEPI
The landscaping exercise forms part of CEPI’s $3.5bn strategy, announced in March 2021, to dramatically reduce or even eliminate the future risk of pandemics and epidemics. As part of the ambitious plan, CEPI seeks to build strategic alliances with key manufacturers and coordinate investments to increase national, regional, and global manufacturing capacity. Through these alliances, CEPI will aim to develop manufacturing innovations that can accelerate and/ or significantly scale the production of vaccines, or other biological countermeasures, to respond to future outbreaks much more quickly and effectively, particularly in low- and middle-income settings.
CEPI’s efforts to expand manufacturing capacity have already begun, with the initiation of a collaboration last month, April 2021, between CEPI, the African Union, and the Africa Centre for Disease Control to boost vaccine research and production capacity across the African continent. Data obtained through the vaccine manufacturing capacity survey and subsequent map will be pivotal tools to further guide CEPI’s investments in future vaccine production.
CEPI is also already engaged in vaccine manufacturing efforts to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With partners, CEPI conducted a survey between April and June 2020 to map out the potential worldwide capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines. CEPI has also made strategic investments in COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing, including reserving capacity to manufacture doses of COVID-19 vaccines at a network of facilities and securing glass vials to hold 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines. In March 2021, CEPI co-hosted a meeting with Chatham House and IFPMA, in collaboration with COVAX, DCVMN, and BIO, to address shortages within the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain so that they do not interrupt vaccine manufacturing efforts. A COVAX Manufacturing Task Force has also been established to identify and resolve manufacturing issues impeding equitable access to vaccines through COVAX.
Information being collected as part of the survey includes: names of all vaccine manufacturers or contract manufacturing organisations within these regions; the location(s) where their site/s are based; the vaccine capacity and capabilities at their production sites in R&D activities; vaccine platform & target pathogen/s; production of drug substance (ie, the unformulated active [immunogenic] substance); production of drug product (ie, the finished dosage form of the product including final container); formulation & filling activities (getting a purified active component into the final dosage form); and, packaging and labelling, warehousing, and storage and distribution.
The deadline for organisations tracking regional vaccine manufacturing data to respond to the survey is 31st May 2021. For more information on the survey, please email [email protected].
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 Ebola virus, 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 previously 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 to 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 universal 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 endpandemics.cepi.net.
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