An international coalition has set out what it calls a “moonshot” plan to ensure the development of new vaccines against emerging epidemics within 100 days.
- CEPI says more needs to be done urgently to mitigate the threat posed by new COVID-19 variants
- Vaccines would be developed in about a third of the time it took to make the first COVID-19 shots
- The plan involves working with global drugs regulators to streamline approval requirements
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has launched a $3.5 billion five-year strategy to tackle future pandemic risks.
The organisation, set up to prepare for future infectious disease threats, said more needed to be done urgently to mitigate the threat posed by new COVID-19 variants, and to prepare for new infectious diseases.
Compressing vaccine development timelines to 100 days would make them around a third as long as it took the world to develop the first COVID-19 vaccines, CEPI said in a statement.
The group calls on governments, global health organisations and other partners to back what it said was a “critical investment in global health security” and to take advantage of “the revolution in vaccinology that has been catalysed by COVID-19”.
“We must invest now in the vaccines and biologic countermeasures that we need, while linking these investments with commitments to equitable access.”
CEPI, which was created in 2017 with initial donor funding from Germany, Japan and Norway and from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust global health charity, has played a key role in funding early development of a range of candidate vaccines against COVID-19.
Its plan for 2022-2026 is now focused on honing and adjusting vaccines for use against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses, as well as preparing for as-yet-unknown emerging disease threats.
To be able to squeeze vaccine development timelines down to 100 days, researchers and drug developers would need to exploit the capabilities of so-called rapid response platform technologies, CEPI said.
This includes the mRNA approach used in COVID-19 shots developed by Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna, for example.
It would also involve working with global drugs regulators to streamline the requirements needed for vaccines to be approved, and linking up manufacturing facilities to enable rapid production of pandemic vaccines, CEPI said.