Today, the Commission and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) are launching a new call for funding to advance the development of innovative vaccines against the viral disease, Rift Valley fever.
€35 million in financial support will be provided by Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme, and up to €50 million in total will be made available by CEPI to support promising Rift Valley fever vaccine candidates through Phase I and II clinical trials in endemic areas. The ultimate goal is to advance Rift Valley fever vaccines towards late-stage clinical trials and possible licensure, alongside vaccines for other pathogens.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
The EU has been at the forefront of supporting research and innovation and coordinating global research efforts to prevent and tackle health threats. In collaboration with CEPI, today we are stepping up our efforts to meet the challenges represented by one of these threats, which is Rift Valley fever. Rift Valley fever illustrates very well how the health of humans, animals, and our ecosystems are closely linked and inter-dependent, and why we need a One Health approach when tackling emerging infectious diseases. By supporting CEPI and funding new research into a Rift Valley fever vaccine we continue our work to fight these diseases, as well as prepare for future outbreaks.
Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral zoonosis found in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula that primarily affects animals but also has the capacity to infect humans and infection can cause severe disease in both animals and humans. With climate change and new and extreme weather events, the regions affected by RVF could increase. Given the animal origin of RVF, it is important to use a One Health approach to control the disease, both to understand the interactions between the environment, animals, and humans, and to develop new countermeasures to prevent the spread and combat the virus.
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said:
Rift Valley fever regularly leads to serious outbreaks and, with continuing climate change, could well spread in its sphere of influence. If we fail to act now, there is a risk that we could see more frequent and deadly Rift Valley fever outbreaks, with serious public health and socioeconomic consequences. Advancing globally accessible vaccines against Rift Valley fever for human use is an essential step within the One Health framework to ensure local pastoral communities affected by the disease, and the world, are better protected for the future.
For further information, please visit CEPI’s website.
CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics. CEPI’s work has focused on developing vaccines against COVID-19 virus, Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley fever virus and Chikungunya virus, while also funding the development of new platform technologies designed for rapid vaccine development against unknown pathogens (Disease X) as well as broadly protective coronavirus vaccine candidates. CEPI is now working to minimise or even eradicate the threat of future epidemics and pandemics through its $3.5 billion pandemic preparedness plan.
This is the third jointly funded call for proposals resulting from the collaboration between CEPI and the EU’s research framework programmes. CEPI received €36 million under Horizon 2020, the previous EU research and innovation programme, in the context of the development of vaccines for Chikungunya and for Rift Valley Fever viruses, as well as in support of an Ebola vaccine trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This new call is open to applications worldwide from existing CEPI Rift Valley fever partners, as well as vaccine developers who are not currently partnered with CEPI.
CEPI also received a Horizon 2020 grant of €100 million to support its efforts for the development of COVID-19 vaccines. The bulk of the latter grant is being used for CEPI’s partnership with SK Bioscience for the development of a variant-proof vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.
The €35 million in funding for CEPI for this Rift Valley fever call have been provided through the RIFTVAX project (Grant agreement number 101081290) from the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. As described in the Horizon Europe Health Work Programme 2021-2022, another €35 million will be awarded to CEPI during the course of 2022 for the further development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.
In line with CEPI’s commitment to achieving equitable access to its programmes, any developed Rift Valley fever vaccine must be made first available to populations when and where they are needed in the context of an outbreak or to curtail an epidemic, regardless of ability to pay.
Health research and innovation
- Publication date
- 16 September 2022
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation