CEPI: Joining forces to prevent epidemic outbreaks and loss of life

2.jpg
Photo: WHO/S. Hawkey

21st Nov 2016 – “Many of the known – and still unknown – infectious diseases that are most likely to cause a serious epidemic could be contained by vaccines, but there are rarely vaccines approved or advanced in development,” stated Norway’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Hans Brattskar at a recent briefing at WHO, co-organized by India and Norway.

The Ebola outbreak demonstrated the devastating impact epidemic outbreaks can have on lives. In the most recent outbreak in West Africa more than 28 000 women, men and children were infected; of these 11 310 people lost their lives. Infectious diseases also come at significant financial costs to national as well as the regional and world economy, adding up to 60 billion USD annually.  Reflecting this, Ambassador Brattskar emphasized that “investing in preparedness will therefore contribute to relive human suffering and has also proven to be a sound economic investment”.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) seeks to respond to these challenges. By ensuring the development of safe, effective and affordable vaccines, epidemic outbreaks could be stopped before becoming global health emergencies. The coalition sets out to prevent epidemic outbreaks by establishing an allegiance to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccines to prevent and contain infectious diseases. Bringing together public, private, philanthropic and civil organizations, CEPI seeks to stimulate, finance and co-ordinate vaccine development against priority threats, particularly when development is unlikely to occur through market incentives alone.

Together with the Government of India, the Welcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum, Norway is one of the founding members of CEPI and currently the host of CEPI’s interim secretariat. In his statement, Ambassador Brattskar expressed that “Norway is dedicated to making CEPI succeed, and will aim to contribute to making it an effective initiative with lasting impact”. In his closing remark the Ambassador urged other countries to engage with this important new initiative “to help ensure we do not repeat past mistakes of not preparing for epidemics”.

For more information about CEPI, please visit their homepage.