Vaccines prevent disease, saving lives, time and money. But infections like malaria and typhoid still harm and kill millions of people each year, and emerging diseases can cause deadly epidemics like Ebola. The world urgently needs better ways to develop and use vaccines.
On this page
We set priority areas where we want to see, lead and be accountable for change.
This priority area will not involve a dedicated funding call.
Through our schemes, we will continue to fund a breadth of science research.Explore other priority areas
Four ways we are taking action
Wellcome already has ways to support people with great ideas relating to vaccines, so this is not a dedicated funding call.
It is an opportunity for us now to connect and drive progress across research, product development, policy and society to transform how vaccines are made and used to combat infectious diseases.
A world prepared for epidemics
Wellcome is a founding partner in CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Initially, CEPI aims to develop vaccine candidates for MERS-CoV, Lassa and Nipah viruses, so that we’re better prepared for these potential epidemics.
CEPI will also make sure we can respond rapidly in an emergency, such as another outbreak of Ebola, by defining and agreeing mechanisms to test and license vaccines in advance.
Wellcome and the UK Department for International Development are partnering under the £25 million Joint Initiative on Epidemic Preparedness. The initiative aims to improve the way the world prepares for global epidemics and pandemics by addressing key research questions.
Through a new funding scheme the initiative will initially support social science researchers who want to develop new standardised ways to conduct research for epidemic preparedness and response.
Innovation in vaccine development
Over the past 10 years, Wellcome has funded several studies using controlled human infection models. We are now calling for expansion of these models to ensure that vaccines are relevant to the people most at risk. This will require community and political engagement as well as clear ethical and regulatory frameworks.
If you work on controlled human infection models, or might want to, we’d like to hear from you as we develop our plans in this area. Contact Zoe Seager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evidence for decision-making
Governments and NGOs like GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, rely on evidence to set priorities on how best to use new and existing vaccines. Sometimes, though, they lack even basic data on how many people are dying of a particular disease. Wellcome is working in partnerships to identify, support, share and apply relevant research to better inform decisions.
Increased vaccine expertise
We are using Wellcome’s strong, long-standing research connections in low- and middle-income countries to increase the number of well-trained people who can influence and support national and global vaccines agendas. This could include regulators, policymakers, researchers and developers.
A huge opportunity
- Vaccines already save at least 2 to 3 million lives every year.
- Another 1.5 million deaths could be prevented each year through better vaccination coverage.
- Making a safe vaccine typically takes more than 10 years.
Source: World Health Organization
What we want to achieve
If we are successful, the world will have a new, coordinated and systematic approach to developing and using vaccines during the next epidemic.
The design and development of vaccines will be better informed by understanding more about the people they are intended to help. Industry and policymakers will have the evidence they need to decide which vaccines to pursue and use. Countries will have the information and expertise to make sure people are protected through immunisation.
This work has the potential to prevent more cases of infectious disease around the world, to stop epidemics in their tracks, and to save millions of lives as a result.
Reports and articles
This workshop explored the benefits and barriers to controlled human infection model studies and the possible issues when designing CHIM studies for low- and middle-income countries.
- Charlie Weller, Head of Vaccines Programme
- Gordon Dougan, Expert in Residence
- Josie Golding, Programme Coordinator, Epidemic Preparedness
- Zoe Seager, Programme Officer, Controlled Human Infection Models
We'll be advertising for new positions in the team over the next couple of months.
We are establishing a strategic advisory committee, and are working closely with other experts and partner organisations, including vaccine manufacturers, governmental and non-governmental bodies, academic researchers and charities.
If you have any questions, contact the team:
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