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The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has partnered with five clinical laboratories to standardise the testing of COVID-19 vaccines.

It will allow companies developing potential candidates to assess and compare the immunological responses generated by their jabs.

The network will use the same testing reagents and follow common protocols to measure the immunogenicity of multiple candidates.

CEPI said a uniformed process is necessary because the 320 candidates being developed worldwide are likely to present differences in data collection and evaluation methods.

For example, they could assess their efficacy within different ranges or collect, store and transport samples in ways that can impact the quality of the data.

The network aims at minimising variation in the results to make comparisons easier.

Public Health England is one of the selected labs, with the other ones located in Canada, Italy, The Netherlands, Bangladesh and India.

CEPI said the COVID-19 vaccine candidates that received its funding are “encouraged but are not obliged to use the centralised lab network”.

The organisation has injected cash in nine projects, including those developed by Moderna, Novavax, University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, Inovio and CureVac, though is “actively looking to expand our investments in further vaccine candidates to increase the chances of finding a successful vaccine”.

“We are now exploring the possibility of extending the testing to also include Phase III trial samples, as results produced in later-stage efficacy studies help the decision-making process of which COVID-19 vaccine/s shall be brought to licensure,” a spokesperson told Proactive.