HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Baltimore, Maryland, USA or Virtually from your home or work.
Bethan Charlotte Hussey, Speaker at Immunology Conferences
UK Health Security Agency, United Kingdom
Title : Developing a network: supporting SARS-CoV-2 assays vaccine clinical trials through the CEPI Centralized Laboratory Network.


The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has longstanding expertise in the technological support of vaccine development through a vast array of immunological assays. In early 2020, using this valuable knowledge, scientists within UKHSA were able to rapidly develop a live virus microneutralisation assay (WT-MNA) that could be used in a high throughput setting to support the development of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. At the same time, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) issued a call to establish a global network of well-qualified laboratories to centralize immunological laboratory assessment of vaccine candidates. The UKHSA partnered with CEPI and other laboratories, such as Q2 Nexelis, to form the CEPI Centralized Laboratory Network (CLN). The CLN shares assays for quantitation of anti-COVID-19 activity including antibody binding and neutralization, pseudo virus neutralization and cell mediated immunity to eight participating laboratories around the world, with additional laboratories coming online in 2023. The CEPI Centralized Laboratory Network (CLN) is the first and largest global group launched to harmonize the assessment of COVID-19 vaccines for support of preclinical and clinical trials.

The CEPI CLN program has successfully provided clinical trial support to over 50 developers and tested over 70,000 samples to date. This coordinated laboratory analysis for the assessment of immune responses to vaccines provides a blueprint for how the network can support the CEPI 100-day mission to develop a vaccine and prepare for Disease Z. Critical evaluation of the successes and challenges in forming the CEPI CLN will aid in preparedness for the next pandemic.

Audience Take Away:

  • Understand the role of the UKHSA in the development of the CEPI Centralized Laboratory Network.
  • Demonstration of the power of the network in supporting the development of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • A look to the future with what lessons can be learnt from this pandemic to the next, how these can be addressed and used to be prepared for Disease Z.


Dr Hussey studies Human Biology at Loughborough University, UK and graduated with a BSc in 2014. She joined the research group of Dr Mastana and Lindley on the Anti-Inflammatory Modulation mini-Centre for Doctoral Training Studentship and received her PhD degree in 2018. Dr Hussey moved to the Wellcome Sanger Institute where she worked supporting the Cellular Genetics Programme, led by Dr Teichmann, and provided operational support to the Programme. Following this, Dr Hussey joined the UK Health Security Agency where she manages the clinical testing for COVID-19 vaccines and the tech transfer of the microneutralisation assay to CEPI partner labs.