CEPI and Gavi extend partnership to target future disease outbreaks

By Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

CEPI and Gavi extend partnership to target future disease outbreaks

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), two co-leads of COVAX, the multilateral mechanism that accelerated equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines globally, have expanded their partnership to enhance the rapid development, deployment, and access to vaccines against other deadly disease threats with outbreak potential.

The signed Memorandum of Understanding will facilitate faster sharing of global health and vaccine information between the two organizations to better prepare for and respond to future epidemics. The goal is to use CEPI and Gavi’s respective areas of expertise to accelerate equitable access to outbreak vaccines for populations most in need, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Despite COVAX’s valiant efforts, COVID-19 exposed the deep tragedy of unequal access to life-saving medicines,” explains Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI. “Now, as we seek to recover from the pandemic and prepare for new threats, it’s vital that we re-engineer the system to produce better outcomes for everyone in the future: The COVAX motto of ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’ holds true today. Our continuing work with Gavi can deliver a more cohesive strategy that improves the speed, scale and access to vaccine doses against an emerging viral threat.”

Dr Sania Nishtar, CEO of Gavi, said: “In designing COVAX in early 2020, Gavi and CEPI played a formative role in shaping the global vaccine response to COVID-19. We learned a lot along the way about how to build a future response that is faster, more equitable, and scalable. Today’s signing of this Memorandum of Understanding will ensure both Gavi and CEPI are able to bring their core strengths to a coordinated response against the emerging diseases and pandemic threats we know we will face in the future.”

Current and future areas for collaboration include alignment and coordination between Gavi and CEPI on the development, manufacturing, and supply of new vaccine candidates against known diseases, as well as a novel or as-yet-unidentified threat with pandemic potential, known as ‘Disease X’. The faster that safe and effective new vaccines are developed and equitably deployed based on a country’s need, the faster a new pandemic threat can be contained and controlled, helping to reduce the threat for everyone, everywhere.

CEPI and Gavi will also collaborate on policy and advocacy efforts to enhance the global pandemic preparedness architecture.

The new collaboration, signed on the sidelines of the 77th World Health Assembly, builds on the strong relationship developed between the two organizations when co-leading the largest and fastest mass global vaccination campaign in history alongside UNICEF and WHO in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of 2023, COVAX delivered to 146 countries and economies. The scheme is estimated to have helped avert an estimated 2.7 million deaths across lower-income participating economies that received free vaccine doses through the mechanism.

Alongside its successes, key learnings from COVAX underscore the clear global need to create an end-to-end solution – from funding and research & development to policy, allocation, and country readiness – to better prepare the next time a viral threat with pandemic potential emerges.

Exact activities that will be undertaken as part of the two-year Memorandum of Understanding are subject to follow-up discussions between the two organizations in the coming months.

The Gavi-CEPI collaboration is part of a wider set of partnerships launched by both organizations to collectively support an end-to-end approach.