The onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic has posed a major challenge to global public health and economy. Science, technology and innovation is the most effective weapon in humanity’s battle against diseases, with the vaccine providing an ultimate shield against COVID-19. The development of COVID-19 vaccines is an arduous task and takes high costs. The current outbreak of the pandemic across the world has made vaccines all the more urgently needed. In the face of this new challenge, it is imperative to pool global efforts to accelerate vaccine development and production through pragmatic and effective cooperation. To this end, Ye Dongbai, Director of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), and Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation.
The signing of the MoU is of great significance for promoting cooperation and exchanges between China and CEPI in the field of epidemic preparedness innovations. According to the memorandum, the two sides will strengthen cooperation in epidemic preparedness and response, including supporting scientific research projects in the field of public health, and conducting vaccine research and development and international cooperation and exchanges in science and technology. In the future, the two sides will tap into their respective strengths to proactively share experience and practices of research on COVID-19 and strengthen the sharing of scientific data and information; enhance cooperation among COVID-19 vaccine developers, select and support promising and mature projects that give full play to each other‘s advantages; boost communication and policy coordination with regulators; and create synergy with other governments, international organizations, and bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in the fields of science, technology and health.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (“CEPI”) is an international organization for the cooperation in epidemic preparedness worldwide. It aims to substantially reduce the production time of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases by accelerating R&D on vaccines, and ensure that these vaccines can be deployed in time, especially among poor people in low-income countries.
CEPI was jointly launched on January 19, 2017 by the governments of Norway, India and other countries, as well as non-profit organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Foundation and World Economic Forum. It has established extensive cooperation with the World Health Organization, and many of the world’s top biopharmaceutical companies and other vaccine developers, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Sanofi Pasteur.
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEPI has successively funded Inovio, the University of Queensland, CureVac, Moderna, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Novavax, University of Oxford, University of Hong Kong, Pasteur Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Themis Bioscience and other institutions to develop COVID-19 vaccines.