Vaccines

Initiative aims to prevent epidemics with new vaccines

A global coalition announced plans to fund the creation of new vaccines for diseases in order to prevent future epidemics on Wednesday.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations plans to “outsmart” emerging epidemics through the development of vaccines that can be “deployed rapidly to contain outbreaks, before they become global health emergencies,” the coalition’s website said in a media release.

Governments, pharmaceutical companies, foundations and the World Health Organization have backed the coalition.

$460 million have been invested in initial funding. Germany, Japan and Norway are among the governments that have made pledges.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust are both contributing $100 million.

“Without investments in research and development, we will remain unequipped when we face the next threat,” Bill Gates, Co-chair of his foundation, said in a statement.

The coalition also plans to shorten the vaccine development process against sudden viruses.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Ebola, which killed over 11,000 in West Africa’s 2014-2015 outbreak, still has no licensed vaccine for the virus.

The coalition announced their plans to develop vaccines for MERS-CoV, Lassa and Nipah viruses before an epidemic occurs. They also plan to look into vaccine support against Ebola, Marburg and Zika viruses.

“We know from Ebola, Zika and SARS that epidemics are among the significant threats we face to life, health and prosperity.” Dr. Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said in a statement. “Vaccines can protect us, but we’ve done too little to develop them as an insurance policy. CEPI is our chance to learn the lessons of recent tragedies, and outsmart epidemics with new vaccine defenses.”

The coalition is creating processes to help produce details in trials that are only performed when people are sick in order to test vaccines, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The coalition hopes to raise nearly $1 billion with plans to finish its fundraising by 2017.

 

Click here for more from The Wall Street Journal.