Gates Foundation, Wellcome offer $300M to CEPI’s pandemic, vaccine development efforts

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations’ (CEPI) 100 Days Mission to reduce the vaccine development timeline received a $300 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome.

While a fraction of the organization’s overall fundraising goal of $3.5 billion, the Gates Foundation and Wellcome funding will help advance CEPI’s development of new COVID-19 vaccines and work to reduce vaccine development to a within 100 days process – a third of the time it took to develop some of the current COVID-19 vaccines. This would benefit the development of other vaccines as well, including priority focuses such as Chikungunya, Lassa fever, MERS, Nipah, and Rift Valley fever. For coronaviruses, a major push will be on developing all-in-one vaccines to protect against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants and other Betacoronaviruses in a single go.

“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,” Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said. “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 revolutionize 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.”

Both the Gates Foundation and Wellcome were co-founders of CEPI in 2017, together with the governments of Norway and India and the World Economic Forum. Now, each foundation will provide $150 million in advance of CEPI’s planned Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit, which the UK government will host in March 2022. The summit will unite government, industry, philanthropy, and civil society leaders and discuss and address global health security and work toward CEPI’s funding goals.

“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,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, said. “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.”

In terms of the 100 Days Mission, CEPI’s goals have also been backed by the G7 and G20 to limit damage to lives, economies, and the emergence of new COVID-19 variants. However, financial pledges will allow CEPI to partner with developers and scientific organizations to advance preparedness and response efforts.

Chris Galford

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