The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India is partnering in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), a new global alliance between governments, industries, academia, philanthropy, inter-governmental institutions, the World Health Organization, and civil society. The DBT hosted the Second Meeting of the Interim Board of CEPI at New Delhi today. The meeting focused on identifying disease priorities, future strategy and setting of Permanent Secretariat for CEPI.Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences inaugurated the event in presence of all the stakeholders of CEPI and senior officials of Departments/Ministries concerned viz. Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of External Affairs, DRDO, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Department of Pharmaceuticals, DCGI, etc.The meeting was attended by Board members from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America as well as civil society organizations including Medecins Sans Frontiers as well as the World Health Organization.
The structure of CEPI was laid on August 31, 2016 in London and there is an interim Board currently chaired by Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary DBT. It is the highest decision making body of CEPI, and has supreme decision-making authority for all funding, policy, and product development aspects of CEPI’s operations. The scientific input to the Board is provided by a Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) where Indian scientists are members and the joint coordinating group (JCG) is the co-ordination mechanism between CEPI and stakeholders including the vaccine companies.The CEPI aim to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccines to prevent and contain infectious disease epidemics. CEPI is currently being steered by five founding partners. They are: Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, GOI; Government of Norway; Wellcome Trust; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and World Economic Forum.India’s participation in CEPI would provide the opportunity to leverage vaccine development capacities in India, access to vaccines as and when needed, protection of our population and boost our ability to have a competitive vaccine industry.