Southern Countries Gain Disease X Vaccine Producer
The world's largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd (SII) joined the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) network of vaccine producers in the Global South region.
Created by CEPI to expand the global footprint of vaccine production, this manufacturing network focuses on vaccine makers in the Global South near areas at high risk of outbreaks caused by deadly viral threats like Lassa Fever, Nipah, and Disease X.
The addition of SII to the CEPI manufacturing network means the world is better prepared to achieve the 100 Days Mission to develop new vaccines against known or novel infectious diseases within three months of a pandemic threat being recognized.
To prepare for such a scenario, CEPI is investing up to $30 million to build upon SII's proven track record of rapid response to infectious disease outbreaks, expanding the company's ability to swiftly supply investigational vaccines in the face of epidemic and pandemic threats.
This would enable CEPI-backed vaccine developers to quickly transfer their technology to SII within days or weeks of an outbreak to begin rapid production and equitable distribution of affordable vaccines to affected populations.
"As part of CEPI's global manufacturing network, SII's world-renowned manufacturing and rapid response capabilities are poised to play a critical role in enabling swift and equitable access to affordable outbreak vaccines for the Global South, commented Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI in a press release on January 23, 2024.
"Living in an era of heightened epidemic and pandemic risk, evidenced by the increasing prevalence, speed, and spread of infectious disease outbreaks, we must prepare to confront these threats head-on to avoid another COVID-like catastrophe in the future.'
With CEPI's funding, SII will also support developing, stockpiling, and licensure new vaccines against CEPI's priority pathogens. CEPI and SII are exploring which CEPI-backed vaccines SII will support.
According to CEPI, Disease X is the name given by scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO) to an unknown pathogen that could emerge in future and cause a serious international epidemic or pandemic. It is also a priority for CEPI’s research and development investments.
In February 2018, Disease X was included in the WHO’s updated Blueprint list of diseases for which investing in research and development should be an international priority.