CEPI – Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations [to 27 May 2017]
CEPI Newsletter 26 May 2017
Address from the CEO
As I mentioned at the end of my last note, the CEPI Scientific Advisory Committee held a special meeting on May 10 to review the white papers submitted in response to CEPI’s first call for proposals. The very next day, while the Scientific Advisory Committee was meeting in regular session, an Ebola outbreak was confirmed in the Bas-Uele province in northern Democratic Republic of Congo, not far from Yambuku, the town where the virus first emerged in 1976. On May 12, a young man, Onwuegbuzie Stanley-Samuel, died of Lassa Fever at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital in southeastern Nigeria, the latest victim of a Lassa fever outbreak that has been percolating in Nigeria for several months. If we need to be reminded that the threat of epidemic disease is real, these developments do just that (they have prompted me to ask the CEPI team to accelerate the development of our emergency response plans, which are in a very early state).
It is thus not surprising that CEPI continues to attract a great deal of attention and support from global public health partners. Last Friday, Australia announced a donation of $2 million, becoming CEPI’s seventh investor, joining Germany, Japan, Norway, Wellcome, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Belgium.
The same day, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told the assembled Health Ministers of the G20 nations, who had gathered in Berlin for their first ever meeting, that help for the African nations affected by Ebola in 2014/2015 had been “too late, too slow, and too uncoordinated”. She urged her G20 peers to support CEPI, the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies, and the World Bank Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, noting emphatically that where preparedness is concerned there is “no free lunch”.
On Monday, in her Address to the Seventieth World Health Assembly, Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of WHO, reflected on her ten years of service in that role and the role of WHO in responding to the 2009 pandemic, outbreaks of MERS and H7N9 influenza, and the Ebola and Zika epidemics. She pointed to the establishment of CEPI as a key initiative to enhance global preparedness for such threats.
Monday night, with Dr. Chan’s address still fresh in everyone’s mind, Ministers of Health Bent Høie of Norway and Hermann Gröhe of Germany hosted a side event on CEPI at the World Health Assembly. An audience of some 200 delegates filled the room. The interest in CEPI’s progress, and desire for CEPI to succeed, was palpable.
Richard Hatchett, CEPI CEO
Sabin Vaccine Institute [to 27 May 2017]
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