The urgency of now

CEPI’s $3.5 billion plan to turn the tide against epidemic and pandemic infectious diseases

COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees.

Now is the moment to unite and break the cycle of panic and neglect that has characterised our response to epidemic and pandemic disease.

The devastation of COVID-19 will be felt for generations.

6.2 million dead

 400 million jobs lost

$28 trillion worth of damage by 2025

CEPI will initiate a series of ambitious programmes to substantially reduce global epidemic and pandemic risk.

In response to COVID-19, the scientific community developed a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in just over 300 days—a record time.

Had the world been able to compress this timeline to 100 days:

  • Millions of lives could have been saved
  • Trillions of dollars in economic damage could have been averted
  • Massive societal disruption could have been avoided

The 100-day vaccine development target is an ambitious, but achievable, objective. One that we must achieve if we are to break the cycle of epidemics and pandemics stalking humanity.

    Certain classes of virus such as coronaviruses are a significant recurrent pandemic threat. Two in particular stand out:

    • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
    • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

    The fatality rates of of these viruses are 10-35%, making them 5-16 times worse than COVID-19

    The emergence of a coronavirus combining the transmissibility of COVID-19 with the lethality of SARS or MERS would be civilization-shattering. CEPI will initiate development of a broadly protective vaccine approach that could eliminate the risk of existing coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS and new, as yet unknown coronaviruses, as an issue of the greatest global urgency.

    We cannot develop vaccines against all potential viral threats, but we can produce a library of prototype vaccines and other biological interventions against viruses from the 25 viral families implicated in human disease.

    Previous work on vaccines against MERS enabled us to jump-start COVID-19 vaccine development. In the same way, such a library would accelerate development of vaccines against newly emerging threats and help to give us a head start in understanding the challenges that these pathogenic targets present.

    These programmes are part of a focussed R&D agenda to reduce the threat of future outbreaks and to enable equitable access to lifesaving vaccines.

    With $3.5 billion, the following transformative innovations will be supported:

    1. Prepare

    Develop vaccines and promising biologics against the most prominent known threats, building on COVID-19 achievements and CEPI 1.0.

    Fund late-stage clinical trials of promising vaccine candidates that can offer doses to COVAX, as well as investments in next generation approaches, including vaccines against emerging variants of concern and broadly protective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and beta-coronaviruses.

    Priority pathogens & monoclonal antibodies
    Continue vaccine development of priority pathogens beyond what could be achieved in the first strategic cycle and expand support to late-stage (phase 2b/3) development towards licensure. Initiate the development of a monoclonal antibody programme for priority pathogens, focussing on driving down costs and making these technologies accessible to all.

    2. Transform

    Transform the response to the next novel threat. Harnessing innovations in technology and systems to significantly reduce global vulnerability to outbreaks of novel pathogens.

    Disease X
    Further develop platforms and creating libraries of vaccine candidates, working with vaccine development partners to develop prototype vaccines for existing, vaccine preventable diseases.

    Enabling sciences and manufacturing innovations
    Invest and scale critical enabling sciences programmes to further accelerate vaccine development and deployment. Development of manufacturing innovations that can accelerate epidemic and pandemic responses or enable the scaling of production of vaccines and other biological countermeasures, particularly in lower income settings.

    3. Connect

    Connect and enhance global collaboration. Enhance and expand global collaboration by connecting emerging infectious disease stakeholders to enable rapid development of countermeasures, effective outbreak responses, and equitable access to countermeasures for those in need.

    Manufacturing networks
    Strategic alliances with key manufacturers and coordinated investments in increasing global manufacturing capacity.

    Global research network
    Establish global networks for lab capacity, assays, and preclinical models that are critical for rapid vaccine development.

    Alignment on a future target ecosystem
    Work with partners to agree upon key elements of the future preparedness and response ecosystem.

    A proven track record

    Since its launch in 2017, CEPI has forged partnerships with over 30 vaccine developers, manufacturers, and academic institutions. 30 countries, in addition to the European Commission, are now members of our coalition as well as the key philanthropic organisations the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust. It has also been supported by a number of private organisations.

    CEPI has established working relationships with major national regulators on all continents and has established strong operational relationships with key international health bodies such as the Africa Centre for Disease Control, Gavi, PAHO, UNICEF and WHO.

    Norway is proud to be a founding member of CEPI. With the pandemic, CEPI is more important than ever. Ensuring access to vaccines for all is a necessity, not a luxury. As the emergence of new variants tells us: no one is safe before everyone is safe. The mutations underline the need for a continued investment in vaccine development. Norway will continue to mobilise around CEPI and other much-needed building blocks in global health. If anything, the pandemic has reminded all of us that we need better preparedness and response. We have focused on this agenda for a long time. This is not the time to give up. You can count on Norway's continued support.

    Erna Solberg, Former Prime Minister of Norway

    CEPI's early coronavirus investments combined with its global focus, multisectoral partnerships, and ability to move quickly resulted in:

    CEPI has helped the global science community do something incredible: develop COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year. With the right support, CEPI will continue to accelerate innovation and achieve breakthroughs, helping ensure that everyone has equitable access to lifesaving vaccines.

    Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation