What is CEPI?

Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations is Connected to efforts to find a COVID-19 vaccine

Connected to many efforts to find a COVID-19 vaccine you'll find the name CEPI ⁠— the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations that billionaire Bill Gates helped found in 2016.

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CEPI has partnered with some of the companies focused on finding a coronavirus vaccine. Recently, CEPI has given $388 million to Maryland-based Novavax to develop its vaccine candidate and $6.9 million for Pennsylvania-based Inovio to test its vaccine candidate in South Korea.

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CEPI's website describes it as an "innovative global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations."

"We're working together to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks," its website says.

Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gestures next to his wife Melinda French Gates during the session 'Sustainable Development: A Vision for the Future' in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 23, 2015. (SWITZERLAND

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, CEPI began supporting efforts to find cures for diseases including Chickungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, MERS, a coronavirus, and Rift Valley Fever, a bloodborne virus.

Gates' tech background may not point to his interest in infectious disease research, but his charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been intertwined with the fight against infectious diseases.

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"At a time when world leaders are understandably focused on terrorism and other security threats, another enemy is being largely overlooked — the next epidemic," Gates wrote in a 2017 blog post. "We don't know when the next pathogen will emerge, what it will be, how it will spread, or who will be affected, but we do know that the world is not prepared to deal with it."

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CEPI was founded in Davos by the Gates Foundation, the UK-based Wellcome Trust, the World Economic Forum and the governments of Norway and India.

Countries including Australia, Saudi Arabia, Japan and many others have pledged funds to CEPI in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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