By Our Reporter
Stakeholders and groups all over the world have gone extra miles in ensuring that the Covid-19 virus is contained.
This is as Bill & Melinda Gates foundation pledged US$150 million, so also Wellcome making a total of US$300 million towards COVID-19 vaccine production.
The pledge was made to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to help end the COVID-19 crisis, prepare for future pandemics, and address epidemic threats.
The aim is for the development of safe and effective vaccines against emerging variants of the coronavirus and to prepare for, and possibly even prevent, the next pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman said this in a statement.
He stated, “Today the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome each pledged US$150 million for a total of US$300 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership launched five years ago this week by the governments of Norway and India, the Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and the World Economic Forum.
The pledges come ahead of a global replenishment conference in March to support CEPI’s visionary five-year plan to better prepare for, prevent, and equitably respond to future epidemics and pandemics. “As the world responds to the challenge of a rapidly evolving virus, the need to deliver new, lifesaving tools has never been more urgent,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation.
“Our work over the past 20 years has taught us that early investment in research and development can save lives and prevent worst-case scenarios. Five years ago, following the Ebola and Zika epidemics, our foundation helped launch CEPI. Today, we’re increasing our commitment and pledging an additional $150 million to help CEPI accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines against emerging variants of the coronavirus and to prepare for, and possibly even prevent, the next pandemic.
“Since its inception, CEPI has played a central scientific role in curbing epidemics around the world, overseeing a number of scientific breakthroughs and putting pandemic preparedness at the center of the global health R&D agenda. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, CEPI responded immediately, building one of the world’s largest and most diverse portfolios of COVID-19 vaccine candidates—14 in all, including six of which continue to receive funding, and three of which have been granted emergency use listing by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“CEPI made early investments in the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is now saving lives around the world. Last month, Novavax’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine—funded largely by CEPI—received WHO emergency use listing and is poised to help efforts to control the pandemic globally. More than 1 billion doses of the Novavax vaccine are now available to COVAX, the global initiative co-led by CEPI that aims to deliver equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. CEPI also continues to work on next-generation COVID-19 vaccines, including “variant-proof” COVID-19 vaccines and shots that could protect against all coronaviruses, potentially removing the threat of future coronavirus pandemics.
“Our new commitment of $150 million recognizes the enormous potential CEPI has to protect lives against emerging infectious diseases,” Dr. Farrar continued. “The effects of COVID-19 have been sobering. We urge leaders to provide their support and ensure that CEPI reaches its funding target. It is in the world’s collective interest to avoid repeating mistakes and to help future generations prevent epidemics.
“Beyond COVID-19, CEPI has filled a vital gap in supporting vaccine equity alongside R&D. CEPI is currently supporting the research and development of accessible vaccines against other infectious diseases, including the first-ever vaccines to reach clinical trials against the deadly Nipah and Lassa viruses. The organization has also played a critical role in efforts to end Ebola, including supporting the development of a second Ebola vaccine by Janssen. In addition to advancing the science underlying vaccine development and new vaccine platforms, CEPI is focused on dramatically reducing the time it takes to develop lifesaving vaccines against any new viral threat (referred to as “Disease X”)—to within 100 days of a pathogen being sequenced. This represents a combination of scale and speed that could save millions of lives and trillions of dollars.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how inequitable access to vaccines can put the entire planet at risk and disrupt decades of global health progress,” said Awa Marie Coll Seck, minister of state to the president of the Republic of Senegal. “Innovative global partnerships like CEPI play a critical role in advancing the R&D needed to prevent future pandemics. Importantly, those investments in vaccine technology, particularly in Africa, can also help accelerate progress against other diseases—like HIV, TB, and malaria—that still affect the world’s most vulnerable populations.”