Prototype vaccines based on University of Oxford’s ChAdOx technology and other rapid response vaccine platforms can be adapted to tackle outbreak pathogens with pandemic potential in as little as 100 days.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the University of Oxford have entered into a strategic partnership to accelerate the development of safe, effective and globally accessible vaccines against ‘Disease X’: the threat of unknown pathogens with the potential to cause pandemics.
Up to 80 million of CEPI funding will support the University of Oxford’s world-leading team of vaccine scientists to develop prototype vaccines against high-risk viral families which could be swiftly adapted if a new viral threat is identified. This would pave the way for the development of new new vaccines, based on Oxford’s ChAdOx technology and other rapid response vaccine platforms, within just 100 days of a virus with pandemic potential emerging.
“CEPI’s strategic partnership with the University of Oxford will make a vital contribution to our work to drive forward the 100 Days Mission. Through this partnership, CEPI will benefit from the expertise of Oxford’s world class team of vaccine scientists, and the institution’s steadfast commitment to global equitable access, as we prepare for future pandemic threats. Crucially, the partnership enables CEPI to deploy Oxford’s ChAdOx technology – one of only a handful of proven rapid response vaccine platforms in the world – to build vital components of the Global Vaccine Library which could dramatically accelerate the development of new vaccines to face down the next Disease X.”Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI
An outbreak of a future Disease X is inevitable. Forces such as globalization, urbanization, and climate change are increasing the likelihood and frequency of infectious disease outbreaks, but that inevitability does not mean the world is destined to relive the devastating impacts of COVID-19. The scientific advances forged in response to the pandemic have equipped the world with the tools and concepts that would enable us to interrupt outbreaks in the future before they spiral out of control.
100 Days Mission to Develop Vaccines Against Disease X
CEPI is at the forefront of global efforts to develop vaccines against the next Disease X in 100 days: known as the 100 Days Mission, this goal has been embraced by the G7, G20 and industry leaders.
Key to the success of the 100 Days Mission are rapid response vaccine technology platforms – some of which were clinically validated for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic – that can be used to design vaccines in a matter of days. ChAdOx is one of only a handful of these technologies with proven capability as a platform on which safe and effective vaccines can be quickly developed and manufactured at scale and low cost. The ChAdOx platform was the basis for Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine which became one of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines in the world, saving over 6 million lives in the first year of its rollout.
CEPI and the University of Oxford aim to replicate this approach for pathogens from other viral families most likely to cause a future pandemic, by creating prototype vaccines based on ChAdOx and other rapid response platforms, which will be advanced through preclinical and early clinical testing. These prototype vaccines will be key components of the Global Vaccine Library: a repository of knowledge, data and resources which can be pulled ‘off the shelf’ by researchers next time Disease X strikes and used to dramatically accelerate the development of life-saving vaccines.
“This is a ground-breaking commitment from CEPI to provide momentum that will drive the critical research that we need to be better prepared for future pandemics. Building on our extensive experience in vaccine development over the past 30 years and world-leading response to COVID-19 with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, we will strive with CEPI to secure the safety of future generations against the ongoing threats from the microbial world.”Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) and investigator at the Pandemic Sciences Institute, Oxford
The collaboration will also support additional activities which CEPI’s analysis has identified as critical to the success of the 100 Days Mission. University of Oxford scientists will explore ways of helping to optimize the manufacturing process for the ChAdOx platform, so vaccines can be rolled out more quickly during an outbreak. The partnership will also support Oxford’s existing network of clinical trial sites around the world, through training and regulatory guidance, so that sites are ready to swiftly test vaccines close to the source of an outbreak, wherever that may be.
The University of Oxford will also work with local partners on community engagement and social science activities in communities that are affected by pathogens relevant to the partnership, to help address vaccine confidence and develop immunization strategies when vaccines become available.
Global Vaccine Library Key to Pandemic Preparedness
Preparation of prototype vaccines through pre-clinical and clinical testing before an outbreak of a novel pathogen will streamline the development of future vaccine candidates against Disease X, potentially within 100 days of identification.
Achieving the 100 Days Mission would give the world a fighting chance of stopping the next pandemic-causing Disease X in its tracks. A critical enabler of the 100 Days Mission is the establishment of a Global Vaccine Library: a globally accessible store of scientific knowledge, data and prototype rapid-response vaccine candidates against selected viruses from the 25 viral families known to infect humans. Components in the Global Vaccine Library can be swiftly utilized if a novel pathogen with pandemic potential emerges, significantly accelerating the vaccine development process.