Inés Rodriguez Álvarez, our former Senior Consultant, talks about her experience as a Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) lead at CEPI.
CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) is an innovative global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organizations. CEPI was founded after the EBOLA outbreak and is working to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines for people during epidemics. CEPI guides and supports their awardees in new vaccines development from a holistic point of view: facilitating funding and also connecting the awardees to the CEPI experts, formed by their permanent staff and senior consultants, sharing their in-depth industry experience and scientific background.
As a CMC lead within CEPI, I was supporting and guiding different awardees during their new vaccine process development. As part of CEPI’s mission; you are expected to secure that resources are adequately utilized to challenge the status quo and to support the creative thinking of the experts who are developing new vaccines. All while guiding them through GMP standards and the steps it takes to manufacture a new vaccine. The CEPI team is focused on reaching the end goal; finding a safe and effective new vaccine against emerging infectious diseases in the shortest possible time. Something so critical and present during current COVID-19 pandemic.
Becoming part of the CEPI team in 2019 allowed me to understand better how a foundation operates internally, as well as its challenges to achieve such a high mission. On top of representing CEPI as CMC expert, I had the honour to participate and lead some discussions to define how to develop and manufacture new vaccines against emerging infectious diseases. Not only from a manufacturing perspective, but also directly linking to the clinical and regulatory requirements that, in the end, define the strategy. Nobody in early 2019, would have thought about the COVID-19 pandemic taking place a few months later. Therefore, this upfront thinking and already having contacts established with many awardees, I believe, made possible facilitated that so many COVID-19 potential candidates would be available in such a record time.
I genuinely believe that CEPI has made, and will be making, a tremendous positive impact for all of us. Finding new ways to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases is an investment that only a few months ago, many people would think is not worth to consider as this will affect ‘only a few and others’. Today, we all know this is not the case, and I genuinely hope that global leaders and citizens realize that we all need to contribute by finding ways to ensure equitable access to these vaccines for people in need.