Science

Two Indians selected to CEPI’s scientific advisory committee

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on June 14, 2021

Immunologist Dr Vineeta Bal and Bharat Biotech Executive Director Dr Krishna Mohan have been selected

Immunologist Dr Vineeta Bal and Bharat Biotech Executive Director Dr Krishna Mohan have been selected to the scientific advisory committee at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Launched in Davos (2017), CEPI is an international partnership that brings together public, private, philanthropic and civil organisations. And it has eminent scientific voices from India like Dr Gagandeep Kang (professor with The Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Christian Medical College -Vellore) and Dr Soumya Swaminathan (Chief Scientist, World Health Organisation) on its Board.

On the recent representations from India, Dr Kang told BusinessLine that she hoped there would be closer links between CEPI and Indian researchers and vaccine companies. “Some of the best vaccine science is reviewed at the CEPI SAC and I hope that we (India) will align with CEPI's efforts,” she said.

Also read: CEPI, Bio E team up for Covid-19 vaccine

Dr Bal is with the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Pune) and her expertise is in infectious disease immunology. Dr Mohan’s expertise is in research and development, manufacturing and clinical trials.

The scientific advisory committee is selected for three years (2021-2024) and includes new and existing members who have served on the committee since its launch in 2018 and will run an additional two-year term, CEPI said.

Reducing threat of pandemic

With thirty-four experts onboard from disciplines including epidemiology, vaccine development, vaccine manufacturing, public health and regulatory science, the group will work as an independent body to provide scientific inputs and recommendations to guide CEPI staff and the Board in responding to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the organisation said.

They will also guide CEPI’s $3.5 billion plan announced in March 2021, “to mitigate or even dramatically reduce the threat of future pandemics and epidemics”, it added. This includes the “moonshot” plan to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days; besides a roadmap to develop a universal vaccine against Covid-19 and other Betacoronaviruses, and create a “library” of vaccine candidates for use against known and unknown pathogens, CEPI said.

Before Covid-19 took centre-stage, CEPI’s work focused on developing vaccines against the Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and Chikungunya virus. It has over 20 vaccine candidates against these pathogens in development and has also invested in new platform technologies for rapid vaccine development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).

Published on June 14, 2021

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