COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund Distributes $10M for Vaccine Development

Funds will flow to CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness

Washington, DC

April 13, 2020


Megan Rabbitt

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO), powered by the United Nations Foundation, today announced a new disbursement of USD $10 million toward vaccine development as a critical priority in the global response to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has been set up to facilitate an unprecedented global response by raising funds for WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Consistent with the emphasis on accelerating research and development in the plan, this US$10 million disbursement will be distributed to CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, to support the rapid development of a new vaccine.

“While it will take time to develop, a vaccine is a critical tool for the long-term control of COVID-19,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Research is one of the critical pillars of the response plan, and funding research is one of the reasons the Solidarity Response Fund was set up. I am glad to see funds flowing towards vaccine research.”

In coordination with partners, CEPI has already moved urgently to respond to the growing threat of COVID-19 and to start to develop vaccine candidates against the disease. So far, CEPI has deployed over $29 million in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, through 8 partnerships with a range of universities and institutions around the world, from the University of Oxford to the University of Hong Kong.

Two CEPI-supported vaccine programs have entered the human trial phase, including:

  • Moderna vaccine, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle
  • Inovio vaccine, at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Center for Pharmaceutical Research, Kansas City

CEPI requires additional funding to take vaccine candidates through later stages of clinical testing and to reach its ultimate goal of having vaccines ready for equitable distribution, including to low- and middle-income countries.

“We are profoundly grateful for people’s generosity in donating to CEPI through the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund,” said Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI. “COVID-19 is a disease which doesn’t respect borders and against which we must all be united. Vaccines are one of our most important weapons in fighting this disease and this money will be critical in ensuring we can continue our efforts to develop a vaccine as fast as we can to protect the world from this disease.”

“Vaccines save lives,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President & CEO of the UN Foundation. “And the sooner we can develop a vaccine to protect against COVID-19, the safer and healthier our communities will be. I am so appreciative of every contribution to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund — every dollar supports health workers on the frontlines and gets us that much closer to finding a vaccine.”

To date, the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has raised over USD $140 million from over 230,000 individuals and companies. In addition to vaccine development, funds will be used to provide health workers with the tools they need to prevent, detect, and respond to this growing pandemic, including lab supplies for testing, personal protective equipment, training, and more. Today’s disbursement to CEPI is part of more than $42 million that has been disbursed from the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in just the past two weeks.

Allocation decisions for the use of the Fund’s resources are made by WHO in line with its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund is powered by the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation in support of the World Health Organization.


About the United Nations Foundation

The UN Foundation brings together ideas, people, and resources to help the United Nations drive global progress and tackle urgent problems. Our hallmark is to collaborate for lasting change and innovate to address humanity’s greatest challenges. Learn more at

About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. CEPI has moved with great urgency and in coordination with WHO in response to the emergence of COVID-19. CEPI has initiated 8 partnerships to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The programmes will leverage rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as new partnerships. The aim is to advance COVID-19 vaccine candidates into clinical testing as quickly as possible.

Before the emergence of COVID-19 CEPI’s priority diseases included Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invested in platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (Disease X). Follow our news page for the latest updates.

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