In December 2020, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation. According to the MoU, the two sides will strengthen cooperation in the prevention and control of epidemic diseases, including supporting scientific research projects in the public health field, developing vaccines and engaging in international cooperation and exchanges in science and technology. The two sides have also set up a joint scientific committee, which is composed of renowned experts recommended by the Chinese side and CEPI and serves as a platform for them to exchange views on scientific issues and provide scientific consulting for cooperation between China and CEPI.
The first meeting of the MOST-CEPI Joint Scientific Committee was held online on the evening of May 26, 2021. Deputy Director-General Chen Linhao of the Department of International Cooperation of MOST and CEO Richard Hatchett of CEPI delivered opening remarks. The meeting was co-chaired by Helen Rees, Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand of South Africa and Gao Fu, Academician and Director-General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts attending the meeting included Academician and Director Zhong Nanshan of the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University and National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease (who attended via a pre-recorded video), Academician Wang Junzhi of National Institutes for Food and Drug Control, Professor Xia Ningshao of Xiamen University, Research Professor Li Qihan of the Institute of Medical Biology of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Chairman & CEO Yin Weidong of Sinovac Biotech Ltd., as well as former Minister of Health Agnes Binagwaho of Rwanda, Director John Nkengasong of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Director General Jerome Kim of the International Vaccine Institute, Director Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust, Director Marie-Paule Kieny of the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (Inserm) in Paris, President Victor Dzau of the National Academy of Medicine, and Director-General Roberto Tapia-Conyer of Carlos Slim Health Institute. Experts held enthusiastic discussion on global vaccine research progress, COVID-19 mutations, key challenges for vaccine development in the future and further cooperation between the two sides.
The Joint Scientific Committee has set up a platform for cooperation between China and CEPI. The two sides will continue to maintain close communication and conduct regular exchanges on scientific issues related to vaccine research and development.