Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, today announced the launch of the Innovation for Uptake, Scale and Equity in Immunisation (INFUSE) 2.0, an innovation scaling hub to accelerate immunisation systems upgrades for the world’s most in-need countries.
INFUSE 2.0 features a collective of commercial and philanthropic investors focused on supporting global health entrepreneurs. The initiative also introduces a first-of-its-kind digital platform to simplify connections between communities, innovators and the private sector to make it easier and faster to share expertise. Impact evaluators will also help start-ups, investors and stakeholders better track and amplify the impact of their innovations on immunisation and global health.
By 2030, INFUSE 2.0 expects to secure at least US$500 million in private investment to promote access to new and under-used vaccines and immunisation innovations in the fight against deadly and debilitating infectious diseases.
“The pandemic has rolled back years of progress improving vaccine coverage in the world’s most vulnerable countries,” said CEO of Gavi, Dr Seth Berkley. “With millions more children now at risk of deadly, preventable diseases, we need to ensure the most promising, most scalable innovations reach the countries that need them, urgently. INFUSE 2.0 can do just that, bringing together investors looking for impact with entrepreneurs who can deliver it to help protect children across the world.”
The new initiative builds on INFUSE 1.0, launched in 2016, which has cultivated a community of start-up innovators overcoming vaccine delivery challenges. Initial investments in INFUSE totalled more than US$ 60 million, leading to more than US$ 200 million in follow-on funding for global health innovators.
Some projects supported by INFUSE 1.0 include preventing vaccine damage from excessive heat or cold [for which] Nexleaf Analytics and Parsyl are deploying state-of-the-art sensor technology; helping Pakistan and Mozambique reach under-immunised children [for which] Zenysis Technologies is harnessing big data analytics to sharpen the accuracy of vaccine planning; Ensuring that every child is registered in the health system and receives critical vaccines. Simprints is pioneering biometrics in Bangladesh, Ghana and Tanzania and mobilisation of investments and support from commercial and philanthropic entities including Google.org, Mastercard, NEC, Tencent and the UPS Foundation.
According to the United Nations, the COVID-19 pandemic erased five years of human development progress globally. Impacts on already-fragile government services in vulnerable communities resulted in the largest backslide in childhood vaccinations in three decades.
The launch will address immediate country needs and brace immunisation systems against further shocks, strengthening and scaling services and solutions faster than ever before.
“Beyond the financial support, INFUSE helped us cultivate partnerships with Ministries of Health in Bangladesh and Ghana, as well as technology powerhouses NEC and Arm. Together, we’re boosting the use of real-time service delivery data for vaccine verification and ensuring that every vaccine reaches children who need them,” said co-founder and CEO, Simprints Technology Ltd., Toby Norman.
In another development, Google has renewed funding and support, including US$ 25 million in advertising grants and expertise to help boost vaccine confidence worldwide.
Also, the Coca-Cola Foundation has allocated US$ 1.5 million through Project Last Mile – a public-private partnership that strengthens health systems across Africa by transferring the Coca-Cola system’s business and technical expertise en route-to-market, demand generation and cold chain management.
Alwaleed Philanthropies committed US$ 2 million to ensure that innovations help protect vulnerable children against deadly diseases.
“We are pleased to announce a new collaboration between Project Last Mile and Gavi INFUSE, made possible by a US$ 1.5 million grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation to Project Last Mile,” said executive director of Project Last Mile, Adrian Ristow. “With Project Last Mile already having reached over 40 million lives through more than 40 projects in Africa alongside USAID, the Global Fund, PEPFAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this is another exciting step in PLM’s journey in supporting the scaling of immunisation innovation.”
While the pandemic brings global health to a critical juncture, Gavi’s work stabilising disrupted health and immunisation systems is yielding promising results.