The world has entered a new era of pandemic risk. We’re responding with strength.
22 May 2020
The first human trial of a COVID-19 vaccine was administered this week.
CEPI, launched at the World Economic Forum, provided funding support for the Phase 1 study. The organization this week announced their seventh COVID-19 vaccine project in the fight against the pandemic.
The world has entered a new era, with the declaration by the World Health Organization of COVID-19 as a widespread pandemic. But, there are ways the world, including the Forum and its partners, are responding with strength.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched in 2017 at the Forum's Annual Meeting – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and to enable access to these vaccines during outbreaks.
Be under no illusion - vaccine development is tough. It is complex and costly but CEPI was set-up specifically to overcome these challenges to rapidly develop vaccines against emerging infectious threats like the COVID-19 virus. There are no guarantees of success, but we are working flat out and, if all goes well, hope that a safe and effective vaccine will begin to become available for individuals at greatest risk within the next 12-18 months. The only way we can vanquish the threat of COVID-19 is to invest in vaccine development now so we can protect the future health of all our societies.
What’s the challenge?
Our world has entered a new era of pandemic and epidemic risk. The number of outbreaks is increasing, and the economic damage and fear they create is disproportionate to the level of illness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the world, reflecting our global hyper-connectivity and the development of higher density cities. As a result, societies are becoming more vulnerable to the disruptions that epidemics and pandemics cause.
CEPI was conceived by public and private-industry partners representing global vaccine manufacturers who met at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2016 in response to the ramifications of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. $460 million in initial funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the Governments of Germany, Japan and Norway, and further commitments were made to create a total of $800 million.
To date, CEPI has committed to investing more than $480 million in vaccine development. CEPI's priority diseases include Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invests in innovative platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (e.g. Disease X).
With CEPI’s innovative investment in rapid-response platforms to quickly advance vaccines against Disease X, the organisation has been able to move rapidly and in coordination with global health partners, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through swift action and a global call for proposals, CEPI has to date provided initial funding to a wide range of vaccine technologies with its partners to rapidly develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Moderna began the first Phase 1 study using a COVID-19 vaccine candidate earlier this week. To achieve their goal CEPI requires urgent collective action to make sure sufficient funds are available to advance its programmes.
Coalitions like CEPI are made possible through public-private partnerships. The World Economic Forum is the trusted global platform for stakeholder engagement, bringing together a range of multistakeholders from business, government and civil society to improve the state of the world.
How can you get involved?
The world needs stronger, unified responses to our highest priority health threats. By creating alliances and coalitions like CEPI, which involve expertise, funding, support and contribution from all levels of our community, we are able to collectively address the most pressing global health challenges.
The World Economic Forum provides a platform to bring stakeholders together to improve the state of the world. You can partner directly with our Platform for Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare to contribute to global health solutions.