The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced on Tuesday that it will provide up to $19.3 million (about Rs 149 crore) to Bharat Biotech International, University of Sydney and Swiss company ExcellGene SA for the development of a “variant-evidence” vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2.
CEPI will fund the initiative as part of its $200 million program to advance the development of vaccines that provide broad protection against SARS-Cov-2 variants and other beta coronaviruses.
The funding will support the consortium as it seeks to establish preclinical and clinical proof of concept for an adjuvanted subunit vaccine designed to provide broad protection against all known SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, as well as future variants of the virus that have not yet emerged.
CEPI will fund researchers to conduct activities such as immunogen design, preclinical studies, manufacturing process development, and a phase 1 clinical trial.
“As repeated waves of COVID-19 infection remind us, we will live alongside the virus for many years to come. The threat of a new variant emerging that may elude the protection of our current vaccines is real, so investing in R&D for the SARS-CoV-2-proof variant is a global health security imperative,” said CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett.
He added: “Our partnership with Bharat Biotech, the University of Sydney and ExcellGene will advance the development of a candidate vaccine to protect against future variants of COVID-19, potentially contributing to the long-term control of the virus. President and CEO of Bharat Biotech, Krishna Ella, said that while current vaccines are safe and effective against currently known variants, it is imperative to focus on innovation for multi-epitope vaccines, where a single vaccine can protect against all future variants.
“Our expertise in product development and innovation, particularly with new adjuvants and platform technologies, will add to the strong partnership with CEPI, ExcellGene and the University of Sydney,” he added. .
CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic and civil organisations, launched in Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics.
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