09 April 2020 | News
To Make COVID-19 Vaccine License Free to Developing Countries
Image credit- shuttershock.com
US based EpiVax, Inc., is using advanced computational tools to accelerate a COVID-19 vaccine candidate (EPV-CoV19) for healthcare workers (HCW) into clinical trials in 6 months. EpiVax has announced its partnership with GAIA Vaccine Foundation (GVF) to crowd-source funds for the project and its pledge to make a free license available to developing countries who qualify, in the context of this partnership.
EPV-CoV19 is a peptide-based, epitope-driven vaccine that can be rapidly and safely produced in most countries. Applying EpiVax's expertise enabled the selection of sequences representing all circulating SARS-CoV-2 genomes that will drive a T cell-mediated immune response, providing HCW with immune system "body armor", reducing their risk of morbidity and mortality. EPV-CoV19 will enter US clinical trials once funds have been raised ($1.75M).
GVF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, will enable private citizens and foundations to contribute to development of EPV-CoV19. GVF's mission is to reduce incidence of infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the under-served and promote the development of globally relevant, accessible vaccines that can be distributed on a not-for-profit basis in the developing world.
Annie De Groot, MD, EpiVax CEO/CSO, states "The soul of each company will be revealed during this crisis. Personally, I do not believe this is the time to become a billionaire. Each of us should do what we do best to reduce the impact of COVID-19 globally." As it is the mission of EpiVax to "improve human health everywhere", the company has granted GVF a cost-free, royalty-free license to the EPV-CoV19 design for use in countries that can produce and test the vaccine candidate on the Least Developed Countries list published by the United Nations. Collaborators and a clinical trial site in West Africa have been identified.