The economic damage caused by epidemics is matched only by wars and environmental disaster, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in Davos.
"Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia suffered an economic loss of at least $3 billion as a result of Ebola, and we know that SARS cost $40 billion."
Andrew Witty, chief executive of CEPI participant GlaxoSmithKline, said the initiative would seek to develop vaccines through Phase I safety and Phase II efficacy trials.
This way, when an outbreak happens, the drug can be quickly put through Phase III testing in a larger group of people - the final stage before licensing.
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"Ideally we do five or six" vaccines, said Gates, though "at our current funding level it is more likely that we will be able to do two or three."
For Farrar, this should include "finishing the job on Ebola" - for which several vaccine candidates have proven effective in trials.
"We have to be able to have a licenced vaccine that can be used tomorrow when the inevitable epidemic of Ebola comes back," he said.