Paula Jardine has previously reported on the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a self-appointed supranational body, and how it used lockdowns to kickstart its ambitious rapid response vaccine programme when the WHO’s Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) declaration on January 30 2020 failed to unlock the funding it sought. Her most recent investigation revealed how CEPI rewarded China for its assistance by developing partnerships with Chinese companies such as Clover Biopharmaceuticals. Today she exposes further details of this ruthless worldwide Covid ‘vaccine capture’ business plan.
In further articles she will argue that its model draws on an earlier US national defence ‘War on Microbes’ programme.
THE increasingly powerful Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is on a self-appointed mission to ‘create a world in which epidemics are no longer a threat to humanity’.
The organisation, whose preliminary business plan reveals a primary focus on tropical diseases, was set up in 2017 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Wellcome Trust (the UK-based global medical research charity headed by Sir Jeremy Farrar) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), in conjunction with the governments of Norway and India. The Covid crisis emerged with impeccable timing for an organisation in the business of developing ‘just in case, just in time’ vaccines, enabling it to meet its key strategic objective of developing its rapid response capabilities by 2021 and to ‘test and refine these systems in the event of an epidemic’.
‘CEPI is a global organisation, working on global solutions to global issues,’ said Dr Richard Hatchett, a former director of biosecurity policy for President George W Bush, and CEPI’s chief executive officer (CEO) since April 2017.
From the start CEPI single-mindedly and ruthlessly set about implementing its business plan to finance ‘breakthrough independent research projects to develop vaccines before pandemics could take hold’, specifically to invest ‘in innovative platform technologies – systems that can be adapted against different pathogens, such as mRNA2 – that can be used for rapid vaccine development’.
The evidence to date points to CEPI pushing the economy-wrecking lockdowns of 2020 from behind the scenes to scare governments into pledging funds for its Covid vaccine programme, then using its new-found financial power to create an international network of state and private vested interests in a global pandemic response primed for the next opportunity.
On April 27 2020, three months after Wuhan’s timely lockdown rescued the Moderna vaccine announcement, CEPI announced that it was opening a Shanghai Representative Office to ‘facilitate’ its collaboration with China.
On the same day it announced that it was awarding $3.5million funding to Clover Biopharmaceuticals Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shanghai-based Sichuan Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc (China), to support preparation and initiation of a phase 1 trial of Clover’s protein-based Covid-19 S-Trimer vaccine in Australia. This CEPI’partnership’ was proclaimed as ‘the ninth global Covid-19 vaccine development project’ that it had signed since January 23, 2020. Clover’s owners include Temasek, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund.
As of November 2021, nearly a third of the $1.5billion raised by CEPI for Covid vaccines has been committed to this one company. (CEPI also donated to Clover 70million of the 100million glass vials it purchased from Stevanato Group, the Italian pharmaceutical glass maker, in 2020.)
The loss-making Clover raised additional capital by floating a Cayman Island tax haven registered subsidiary company on the Hong Kong stock exchange in November 2021.
In what arguably amounts to stock market abuse, ahead of this stock launch, GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance, founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 1999, announced in June 2021 a US$266million advance purchase agreement (APA) for Clover’s still-to-be-authorised Covid vaccine. This APA artificially created a revenue stream for the company ahead of its stock market listing. (The accompanying expectation of an authorisation for the company’s vaccine by pharmaceutical regulators raised investor confidence of making a profit. The authorisation of Clover’s Covid vaccine by pharmaceutical regulators is still pending a year later.)
Prior to the international public offer, Clover raised money privately from investors including Temasek, whose advisers include Sir Jeremy Farrar, and Orbimed, a private equity firm in which Dr Tal Zaks, Moderna’s former chief medical officer, is a partner. (Norway’s sovereign wealth fund invested in Moderna, another company whose improvement in fortunes is due entirely to Covid, in 2018 when it made its stock market debut.)
In January 2022, Clover began building a new research and development facility in Shanghai. Its cash burn reputation has continued to draw attention. Simply Wall Street asks whether its shareholders should be concerned. They should certainly be made aware of its background.
The Shanghai office and associated investment in Clover Biopharma is one example of CEPI’s use of its patronage powers around the world, sponsoring the development of a network of such ‘offices’, laboratories, and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities courtesy of the largesse of national governments
Pre Covid, CEPIhad struggled to raise its target of $1billion in annual funding. Post Covid, 34 countries including the UK, and the EU Commission, have pledged a combined US$2,294.3million in donations for the next five years.
With its coffers replenished, CEPI’s focus is shifting back to financing the development of vaccines against tropical diseases, or emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) as it prefers to call them, found predominantly in developing countries. As Trevor Mundel, President of Global Health for the BMGF put it when CEPI was launched, ‘Many deadly viruses with the potential to erupt into global health crises circulate at the edge of human society.’ US biosecurity policy wonks have long suggested that these EIDs threaten an increasingly interconnected world.
Vaccines for tropical diseases are expensive and difficult to develop. As well as the technical challenge, pharmaceutical companies weren’t interested because of their ‘limited market potential’ in low and middle income countries with little money to pay for products intended for such epidemics – ‘hard to plan for’ due to the ‘sporadic nature of the emergence and re-emergence’. It was to provide the solution to that problem that CEPI was conceived.
Mirroring the market creating approach of GAVI, CEPI’s objective is ‘to build a growing community of product developers with pipelines for new vaccines, diagnostics and drugs for many high-burden diseases that primarily affect citizens living in the poorest countries’.
It is notable that on the day the UK watchdog, the MHRA, authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA Covid gene therapy vaccine, Bill Gates, the world’s most famous vaccine salesman, told CBS News, ‘This is a great vaccine. So it’s great for Covid and it’s great for other vaccines.’ See 3 minute mark here.
The speed with which Covid vaccines have been developed has created industry expectations that the timelines for the development and approval of other vaccines will collapse. Regulatory bodies such as the MHRA are encouraging this. Many traditional vaccines will be replaced with genetic mRNA vaccines which are cheaper and faster to manufacture. As we have seen with the bivalent Covid boosters now being rolled out, new vaccines are likely to be fast-tracked on to the market through the compressed regulatory approval process using the ‘biosimilar approval’ pathway. Yet this pathway, which was introduced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018, was intended only to reduce the clinical testing on healthy people of pharmaceuticals for sick people if the product is deemed to be substantially similar to already approved products. The intention now is the opposite – that vaccines administered to healthy people, all of which carry a risk of being harmful, will now be introduced with limited testing and for widespread use.
The UN Immunisation Agenda 2030 was published in April 2020 a few weeks after the Moderna Covid vaccine went into Phase 1 human trials. Unicef’s associated implementation plan envisions 500 deployments of new or under-utilised vaccines around the world by the year 2030. It amounts to a lucrative mass sales vaccine business capture plan that CEPI is industriously building the infrastructure to deliver.
The UK government is on board with the plan and has invested £395million to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity. In June 2022 it announced that Moderna would build a new research and manufacturing facility in the UK, which it plans to open in 2025. The factory will have the capacity to produce 250million doses per year.
CEPI’s business plan presents the organisation as a do-gooder for the poor of the world. However investigation into its origins and subsequent activities point to a less benign interpretation of their mission – one designed to keep citizens of the world permanently in fear while a War on Microbes, originally conceived by US biodefense planners a quarter of a century ago, is carried on perpetually.