Icddr,b has been selected as a part of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations' (CEPI's) centralised network which will reliably assess and compare immunological responses generated by Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
On Friday CEPI announced this partnership with five clinical sample testing laboratories.
The laboratories initially selected for this vaccine-assessment network are: Nexelis (Canada) and Public Health England (UK), VisMederiSrl (Italy), Viroclinics-DDL (The Netherlands), icddr,b (formerly International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh), and the Translational Health Sciences and Technological Institute (India).
Executive Director of icddr,b professor John D Clemens said, "Ensuring that immunological responses to Covid-19 vaccines are measured systematically in a manner that allows valid comparisons of vaccines will be essential to global efforts to identify those vaccines of greatest public health value."
"We commend CEPI's efforts to establish a centralised laboratory network, and – as an organisation with decades of experience in evaluating vaccines – we are keen to contribute to the network," he added.
The network would use the same testing reagents – originating in the labs of Nexelis and PHE – and follow common protocols to measure the immunogenicity of multiple Covid-19 vaccine candidates. These would be of both CEPI-funded and non-CEPI funded developers.
This approach would ensure uniformity in assessment and informed identification of the most promising vaccine candidates. CEPI is actively negotiating with additional laboratories to participate in this network.
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI said, "Encouraging data is now emerging on multiple Covid-19 vaccine candidates. However, there is no way to draw direct comparisons, as different labs may use different measurements to infer immune response."
He also said the establishment of CEPI's centralised laboratory network is the first time a project has been done – at such speed and scale – in response to a pandemic.
"Our network of labs will operate as though vaccines are all being tested under one roof, to speed up assessment and identify successful vaccine candidates so that we move as quickly as possible to reduce the great suffering caused as a result of this global crisis," he added.