The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, holder of the G20 Presidency, has pledged $150 million to CEPI to support our COVID-19 vaccine development efforts. This follows a commitment from the G20 leaders last month to provide immediate resources to the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, on a voluntary basis. In the leader’s statement they called “upon all countries, international organizations, the private sector, philanthropies, and individuals to contribute to these efforts.”
“ CEPI is enormously grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this crucial support for CEPI’s urgent work to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.
“ With this important contribution from Saudi Arabia CEPI is able to continue its rapid progress towards developing a vaccine.
“ We’re also truly grateful to the G20, under the presidency of Saudi Arabia, for their continued support for CEPI’s efforts to combat COVID-19.
“ The only way for our lives to return to normal so that we can begin to redress the damage caused by this virus is to rapidly develop a safe, effective, and globally accessible vaccine. We hope to achieve this within 12-18 months, but we can only do this together. Global collaboration is the key to ending this pandemic.
Dr. Richard Hatchett
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI
This pledge from the Saudi Arabia comes at a crucial time for CEPI. Last month, the coalition issued a called for $2 billion, which it urgently needs to accelerate its work to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and invest in the manufacturing capacity required to produce a safe and effective vaccine at scale.
Progress towards a COVID-19 vaccine
CEPI has worked at unprecedented speed to initiate eight COVID-19 vaccine development projects with Curevac, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, Novavax, The University of Hong Kong, The University of Oxford, The University of Queensland and a consortium led by Institut Pasteur. The first clinical trials of CEPI-supported vaccines are already underway, and CEPI’s ambition is to have at least three vaccine candidates which could be submitted to regulatory authorities for licensure for general use.
Ensuring equitable access to vaccines
When a vaccine becomes available there will be global demand, so it is vital that a system for equitable access is in place to ensure that those who most need the vaccine get priority access. This is a challenge that must be urgently and collectively addressed by governments, global health leaders, and regulators while COVID-19 vaccine development is continuing. Global support for our partners at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will be vital to ensure a vaccine, once developed, is rolled out worldwide.
Image credit: G20 Saudi Arabia