This organization is working to create a world without pandemics

This article originally appeared on GatesNotes.com.

The omicron surge has been an unfortunate reminder that the only way to eliminate the threat of COVID-19 somewhere is to eliminate it everywhere. As long as the virus continues to circulate at a high level in some parts of the world, we’ll always be at risk for another devastating variant.

The Gates Foundation is renewing its investment in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations or CEPI. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust are each committing $150 million to CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) to push forward efforts to end the acute phase of this pandemic and prevent future ones. 

As with malaria, polio, and many other diseases that the foundation works on, the key to pandemic prevention and preparedness is to keep on innovating. This pandemic’s most significant innovation is mRNA vaccines, which were available less than a year after the virus that causes COVID was identified. CEPI began funding efforts to develop mRNA vaccines for COVID just days after the virus was detected outside of mainland China. 

The groundwork had been laid years before by investments from governments, pharmaceutical companies, and (more recently) CEPI. And the progress they’ve supported will continue to pay dividends long after the COVID pandemic ends. The mRNA platform is already being used to test new vaccines for TB and malaria diseases.

CEPI is a global institution rather than a national one, it can focus on providing access for everyone, alongside other effective global institutions that have saved millions of lives like WHO, Gavi, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. These groups will help make sure that vaccines don’t just go to the highest bidders.

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