The Malaghan Institute is working at multiple levels on developing a COVID-19 vaccine for New Zealand.


In collaboration with leading scientists at the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington and industry collaborators Avalia Immunotherapies, South Pacific Sera, AgResearch and ESR, the Malaghan Institute has been playing an active role in the development of a national COVID-19 vaccine programme. This has included discussions with government, the global science community and industry, and investigations into different vaccine strategies and the feasibility of local manufacturing. 

The Institute and its collaborators have also been is progressing their own research into potential vaccines, including a virus inactivated vaccine approach in progress in Professor Miguel Quiñones-Mateu’s lab at the University of Otago, a recombinant spike protein vaccine being developed out of Dr Davide Comoletti’s lab at Victoria University of Wellington, and New Zealand’s proprietary adjuvant and vaccine technologies, including Avalia Immunotherapies' fully synthetic vaccine platform candidates.

The Government has now announced a $37 million COVID-19 vaccine strategy to enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts and explore the potential of vaccine manufacturing capability in New Zealand. This includes:

  • $10 million to support research in New Zealand with an addition $5 million to support manufacturing capability.
  • Up to $15 million for international research collaboration including those managed by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
  • $7 million in official development assistance will go to the vaccine alliance, Gavi, which distributes vaccines to developing countries.

After initial bridging funding, the Institute is currently working with government to finalise details of its role, along with its collaborators, for the development of potential vaccines for New Zealand.