The first viruses CEPI will target are MERS-CoV, Lassa, and Nipah viruses. The coalition will seek to develop two vaccines for each virus, which emergency responders can administer in the event of an outbreak. It'll also look to defend against new strains of Ebola and Zika should they crop up.
CEPI has called on other world leaders for support in raising the remaining $510 million. As the coalition gathers momentum, Gates suspects the added brainpower will also lead to faster innovation.
"CEPI is a great example of how supporting innovation and R&D can help the world to address some of its most pressing health challenges," he said.
One of the greatest challenges public-health agencies face is recognizing an outbreak of infectious disease and containing its spread.
With certain viruses that tend to be a bit milder, such as the flu virus, agencies can look at data from doctor and hospital visits to know where the virus has spread. Vaccines also work to prevent that spread from ever taking place. With deadlier viruses, ones for which there are no vaccines, the spread can lead to death long before experts know where it's headed and who's most at-risk.
One of CEPI's major long-term goals is to reduce the chance a group could miss an outbreak or fail to stop a spread within a reasonable amount of time.
"For new vaccines to be game changers, they must be developed and tested before outbreaks hit and made accessible and affordable for all communities in times of health crisis," Dr. Joanne Liu, International President of Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement. "These are the conditions that will determine CEPI's success and ensure this new initiative saves lives."
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