There are two key concerns about coronaviruses that demand better vaccines today. New COVID-19 variants continue to emerge, evade immune protection, and fuel the current pandemic, and the threat of other new and dangerous coronaviruses jumping from animals to humans in the future. Staying ahead of rapidly evolving coronavirus threats demands immediate action to develop broadly protective vaccines.
Today, a new Coronavirus Vaccines Research and Development Roadmap was launched, providing a comprehensive strategy for galvanizing a global effort to make this ambitious goal a reality. The roadmap was developed by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The roadmap was forged by more than 50 scientific leaders from around the world, creating a unified strategy that covers the multiple, complex research endeavours needed to develop broadly protective coronavirus vaccines, with specific timelines and milestones. From the University of Oxford, Prof Helen McShane, Professor of Vaccinology at the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) and Director of the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre; Prof Teresa Lambe, Calleva Head of Vaccine Immunology and Professor of Vaccinology and Immunology at the Department of Paediatrics; and Prof Andrew Pollard, Ashall Professor of Infection and Immunity and Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, are involved in the roadmap’s steering group.
Prof McShane said: 'The development of durable, broadly protective vaccines against coronavirus is an critical global goal that will require significant international collaboration. The development of this roadmap is a welcome first step which helps define the path ahead.'
The roadmap aims to provide a structured and coordinated plan for future vaccines that are effective, long-lasting, and accessible globally to all people, protecting the health and economic stability worldwide. It energises and organises the science, policy, political and financial efforts that must work in concert to accelerate development of better vaccines.
The ultimate goal of the roadmap is to build on advances such as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the RECOVERY Trial, the ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey, the NHS app, the COVID-19 Moonshot Consortium, which were delivered by NDM in record time during the pandemic. To counter future pandemic threats, NDM is also hosting the Pandemic Sciences Institute, a multi-disciplinary institute focused on reducing the risk from infectious threats and building global preparedness for future outbreaks, and actively collaborating on global projects such as the Coronavirus Vaccines Research and Development Roadmap to stop other new coronaviruses from causing pandemics in the future.