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CEPI says $2bn is needed for COVID-19 vaccine development

Funding will be used to take candidates through all stages of development

Clinical development

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has said that $2bn is needed to support the development of a successful vaccine against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

CEPI has called for new funding to enable it to expand the number of vaccine candidates, to increase the probability of success against COVID-19. It’s ambition is to have at least three vaccines in development to submit to regulatory authorities for general and emergency use.

To raise the substantial sum, CEPI has outlined ‘five funding phases’ to help it achieve its mission.

That includes an initial $100m to help fund phase 1 clinical trials of eight vaccine candidates, and then a further $375m by the end of March 2020 to prepare four-six for phase 2/3 trials.

This will be followed by $400m by the end of June 2020 to take at least two candidates into phase 2/3 trials and prepare for trials to be carried out in a number of locations. At this stage, the investment will also be used to scale up the manufacturing process for up to six candidates.

Lastly, CEPI says that $500m-$750m in 2021 will be needed to support the global manufacturing capacity, with tech transfer, to geographically distributed locations of up to three candidates.

This will also allow for the completion of clinical testing and the preparation of regulatory submissions for emergency authorisation and licensure submission.

The German government’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research has already provided £157m to support CEPI’s development of a COVID-19 vaccine, joining the governments of Norway and the UK who have also provided funding for the coronavirus efforts.

CEPI has currently received $186m of the $2bn it says it needs to accelerate the development and eventual licensure of a successful COVID-19 vaccine.

It is calling on “sovereign states, private sector partners and philanthropies” to help it reach the $2bn milestone mark, saying that it still “urgently needs financial contributions”.

CEPI has already invested $4.4m in partnering agreements with Novavax and The University of Oxford to rapidly develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and it also announced initial funding to Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna and the University of Queensland.

Anti anti-inflammatories?

Meanwhile, French authorities have criticised the use of anti-inflammatory medications for the treatment of symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus disease.

They warn that widely used over-the-counter anti-inflammatories may actually worsen the infection – including ibuprofen and cortisone – adding that patients should opt for paracetamol if they experience a fever instead.

The warning comes after China approved the use of Roche's anti-inflammatory drug Actemra (tocilizumab) for the treatment of COVID-19 patients who experience lung complications.

France’s health minister Olivier Véran tweeted the advice on Saturday, advising people to avoid taking anti-inflammatories as cases across Europe rapidly increase.

Olivier Veran tweet

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that Europe is now the epicentre of the global COVID-19 pandemic, as it is now reporting more cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

16th March 2020

From: Research

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