The United States is not providing funding for CEPI but offering subject expertise. Several major pharmaceutical companies are providing support in the form of vaccine technology, expertise and guidance. Governments, public health leaders, scientists and vaccine industry executives know that a new system is needed to guard against future health threats.
CEPI initially plans to target three viruses that have known potential to cause serious epidemics and can be transmitted from animals to humans: MERS, a deadly respiratory virus first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 that can be spread by camels and now is in 27 countries, including the United States; Lassa fever, an acute viral illness mainly found in West Africa and spread by rats; and Nipah, a newly emerging infection initially identified in 1999 in Malaysia and Singapore. During a Nipah outbreak there among pig farmers and people with close contact with pigs, nearly 300 people were infected and more than 100 died. CEPI hopes to develop two vaccine candidates against each of the target diseases. There are many directions for action. One such is development of the most efficient technology for biodefense and infectious disease response.