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CEPI establishes global network to compare COVID-19 vaccines

Network will include the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Bangladesh and India

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) has established a global network to reliably assess and compare COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

The centralised lab network has initially selected five laboratories across the globe, including Public Health England in the UK, Nexelis in Canada, Srl in Italy, Viroclinics in the Netherlands, iccddr,b in Bangladesh and Translational Health Sciences and Technological Institute in India.

Across the established network, the different labs will use the same testing reagents and follow common protocols to assess the efficacy and measure the immunogenicity of multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

The aim of centralising the analysis of samples obtained from trials of COVID-19 vaccine candidates is to minimise variation in results obtained.

In addition, by testing the vaccines in the same group of labs using the same methods, researchers will be able to make head-to-head comparisons of the immune responses induced by a number of vaccine candidates.

The network will be open to eligible COVID-19 vaccine developers – both CEPI-funded and non-CEPI funded – to analyse the immune response produced by their respective vaccines in pre-clinical, phase 1 and phase 2a studies.

Companies may be required to agree to certain commitments for eligibility, including timely publication of sample testing results and sharing data that will be produced on the immunogenicity of their COVID-19 vaccine candidates for future regulatory decisions.

“Encouraging data is now emerging on multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates, however, there is no way to draw direct comparisons, as different labs may use different measurements to infer immune response,” said Richard Hatchett, chief executive officer, CEPI.

“The establishment of CEPI’s centralised laboratory network is the first time a project has been done at such speed and scale in response to a pandemic.

“Our network of labs will operate as though vaccines are all being tested under one roof, to speed up assessment and identify successful vaccine candidates so that we move as quickly as possible to reduce the great suffering caused as a result of this global crisis,” he added.

CEPI, along with the World Health Organization and the Gavi vaccines alliance, is co-leading the COVAX facility – an initiative aiming to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It is the vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator, a global collaboration focused on accelerating the development, production and equitable access for COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

The COVAX facility aims to buy two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, by negotiating with a portfolio of vaccine developers that are using different technologies for their respective vaccine candidates.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

5th October 2020

From: Research

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