Doherty Institute joins CEPI's Centralised Laboratory Network

Monday, 13 November, 2023

Doherty Institute joins CEPI's Centralised Laboratory Network

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, has joined CEPI’s Centralised Laboratory Network, understood to be the largest global group dedicated to the standardised testing of epidemic and pandemic vaccines.

Launched in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CEPI’s Centralised Laboratory Network bills itself as the largest global group providing and standardising testing support, free of charge, to epidemic and pandemic vaccine candidates undergoing preclinical and in-human testing. Members apply to join the network through calls for proposals and are selected by CEPI experts based on their successful track record in testing clinical samples under high-quality systems and their willingness to handle high volumes from multiple regions. Over the course of its three years of running, the network has provided preclinical to phase 3 clinical trial support to more than 50 vaccine developers and tested approximately 100,000 samples.

Compared to the typical process for evaluating vaccine candidates, where there is variability in trial data results as different tools and measurements are used at individual sites, laboratories within CEPI’s network use the same protocols, tools and materials to operate as though vaccines are all being tested ‘under one roof’, enabling uniformity in data readouts in the assessment of multiple different vaccine candidates. Harmonised data can inform researchers as to whether their candidate vaccines could advance into later stage clinical trials; it could also guide regulatory decisions and help to accelerate the development of new vaccines against CEPI’s priority pathogens, other known threats or a future Disease X — an unknown pathogen with epidemic or pandemic potential.

As part of its pandemic preparedness plan, CEPI is increasing the number and global diversity of laboratories within the Centralised Laboratory Network to ensure strategic coverage on every continent for faster response to emerging infectious disease outbreaks. The network currently includes 16 members across 14 countries, with the addition of the Doherty Institute improving Australasia’s health security and minimising potential global disease burden. Expanding the network’s geographical footprint to include Australia will help to reduce sample transfer and testing times for vaccine developers in the region, while also enhancing sustainable outbreak preparedness infrastructure globally.

“Having CEPI’s Centralised Laboratory Network present and operational in Australia will be a major asset to vaccine developers across the region as they strive to defuse the threat of pathogens with pandemic potential in as little as 100 days,” said CEPI Chair Jane Halton. “We are excited to welcome the Doherty Institute, with its world-class research expertise, as the first Australasian member of our growing global network.”

CEPI’s Centralised Laboratory Network includes the following members:

  • Doherty Institute (Australia)
  • International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research (Bangladesh)
  • National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (UK)
  • Nexelis (Canada)
  • Q2 Solutions (China)
  • Q2 Solutions (USA)
  • Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (India)
  • UK Health Security Agency (UK)
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)
  • Viroclinics (Netherlands)
  • Vismederi (Italy)
  • Indian Council of Medical Research National Institute of Virology (India)
  • Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) (Senegal)
  • KAVI Institute of Clinical Research & University of Nairobi Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (Kenya)
  • Synexa Life Sciences (South Africa)
  • Uganda Virus Research Institute (Uganda)

Image credit: Doherty Institute.

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