SWAT Team Description: Provide cross-cutting support to COVID-19 vaccine developers in the area of diagnostics, standards, assays and animal models.

Co-Leads: Paul Kristiansen (CEPI) and Ivana Knezevic (WHO)



Goal: to enable the rapid assessment of the biological impacts of new variants of SARS-CoV-2.

Scientific reports: Agility Programme Progress | 23 March 2023

Contact: Questions? Contact us at agility@cepi.net

Aims of the Agility project:

  • Rapid identification of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 that may impact COVID-19 vaccines and countermeasures
  • Comparative neutralisation testing of identified variants of concern using a panel of sera and WHO International antibody standard
  • Assessment of pathogenesis of variants of concern in relevant SARS-CoV-2 animal models
  • Timely reports and information sharing on the biological activity (antigenic characteristics and pathogenesis in animals) of emerging variants 
  • Predictability and comparability achieved through standard procedures and parallel testing in 2 independent laboratories

Early Warning

National initiatives for genomic surveilance

CEPI supports the GISAID Initiative for curation and rapid sharing of global genomic data


Variants of concern identified based on epidemiological, genomic, computational modelling data (notably mutations to spike and receptor binding motif)


Variants of concern grown in lab and testing conducted for: 

(i) Changes in neutralisation sensitivity
(ii) Changes in virulence
(iii) Rapid reporting / Information sharing


Appropriate actions can be taken by CEPI, public health authorities and developers to adapt pandemic response.