New global lab network will compare COVID-19 vaccines head-to-head



The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a non-profit health emergencies group, has set up a global laboratory network to assess data from potential COVID-19 vaccines, allowing scientists to compare them and speed up selection of the most effective shots.

CEPI is co-funding nine of the potential coronavirus vaccines in development, including candidates from Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax NVAX.O and CureVac.

CEPI director of vaccine R&D Melanie Saville said the labs will analyse samples from trials of COVID-19 candidates across Europe, Asia and North America “as though vaccines are all being tested under one roof”. She added that the network will initially involve six labs, one each in Canada, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Bangladesh and India.

Currently, there are more than 320 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the works. Saville said that the differences in data collection and evaluation methods are an issue: “With hundreds of COVID-19 vaccines in development, it’s essential that we have a system that can reliably evaluate and compare the immune response of candidates currently undergoing testing”, she said.

For now, the network will assess samples from first and second stage human trials. CEPI said it hoped to expand its capacity to Phase 3 trial data in the coming months.


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