The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has in partnership with Wellcome pledged a total of Ksh. 34 billion (USD 150 million) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). CEPI is a global partnership launched 5 years ago by the governments of Norway and India, the Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and the World Economic Forum.

The pledges come ahead of a global replenishment conference in March to support CEPI’s 5 year plan to better prepare for, prevent, and equitably respond to future epidemics and pandemics. Since its inception, CEPI has played a central scientific role in curbing epidemics around the world, overseeing a number of scientific breakthroughs and putting pandemic preparedness at the center of the global health agenda. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, CEPI responded immediately, building one of the world’s largest and most diverse portfolios of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Beyond COVID-19, CEPI has filled a vital gap in supporting vaccine equity alongside R&D. CEPI is currently supporting the research and development of accessible vaccines against other infectious diseases, including the first-ever vaccines to reach clinical trials against the deadly Nipah and Lassa viruses. The organization has also played a critical role in efforts to end Ebola, including supporting the development of a second Ebola vaccine by Janssen.

“As the world responds to the challenge of a rapidly evolving virus, the need to deliver new, lifesaving tools has never been more urgent. Our work over the past 20 years has taught us that early investment in research and development can save lives and prevent worst-case scenarios. Five years ago, following the Ebola and Zika epidemics, our foundation helped launch CEPI,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation.