A new coalition to prevent epidemics was launched Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, with the aim of creating vaccines and other measures to preclude the spread of infectious disease.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), backed by the governments of Germany, Japan and Norway with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will commit an initial $460 million to "outsmart epidemics," the coalition said in a statement.
Speaking in Davos on Wednesday, Bill Gates warned that epidemics are "the most likely thing to cause, say, 10 million excess deaths, and it’s pretty surprising how little preparedness there is for it,” Business Insider reports.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide an initial investment of $100 million over the next five years, as will the London-based biomedical research charity Wellcome Trust.
With additional funding from governments, the coalition has secured nearly half of an estimated $1 billion costs for its first five years, and is seeking additional support for the initiative.
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CEPI will focus on shortening the time it takes to create and deliver vaccines by supporting innovative medical technologies, and will begin by targeting viruses with serious potential to cause epidemics such as MERS-CoV, Lassa and Nipah, the group's statement said.
The initiative was conceived in response to the recent Ebola outbreak, which caused more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa over two years beginning in 2014.