Posted by Roger Mallett Posted on 24 December 2023

“Vaccelerate!”: German-EU Programme Aims to Facilitate Fast-Vax for “Next Pandemic”

Already missing the Covid-19 pandemic? Well, fear not. The German-EU “VACCELERATE” programme is already on the lookout for the next “pathogen with pandemic potential,” as authors affiliated with the programme put it in a new paper titled “Predicting the next pandemic.”

The paper is devoted to a survey of the VACCELERATE consortium’s own members on the pathogen most likely to produce the “next pandemic” – or the next “potential pandemic generator,” as the authors also put it. The responses involved a ranking of the various candidates and were tallied using a points system, much like the Eurovision song contest.

And the winner is…

Influenza! The flu was named by nearly 80% of respondents and garnered nearly one-third of the points. A hitherto unknown “Disease X” finished second, and the Coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 and SAR-Cov-1, finished third and fourth respectively. The full results are reproduced below.

 

According to the project description on the funding page, the programme’s original purpose, in keeping with the objective of EUVAP, was to create an EU-wide network of clinical trial sites and a registry of willing trial participants, in order to fast-track specifically Covid-19 vaccine candidates. “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic creates an unprecedented burden worldwide” the description reads,

Vaccine-induced immunity is the only promising solution. There is continued need for phase 2 & 3 vaccine trials to reach long-term, large-scale immunity of the entire European population. VACCELERATE will be the pan-European backbone accelerating phase 2 & 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials.

With COVID-19 vaccines having already been rolled out in record time shortly before its launch, by the time EUVAP had morphed into VACCELERATE in 2021, this original purpose was, of course, largely obsolete. Hence, the programme’s pivot toward the next “pathogen with pandemic potential” is hardly surprising.

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