Dr Fran Priddy appointed to CEPI Scientific Advisory Committee

28 June 2021

The Malaghan Institute’s Dr Fran Priddy, Clinical Director of Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand  – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo (VAANZ), is among key international health and vaccine experts recently appointed to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

CEPI is a global network of public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations working to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks. The Scientific Advisory Committee is tasked with providing guidance and recommendations on CEPI’s vaccine R&D programmes and broader outbreak response efforts, both in tackling COVID-19 and in planning for future epidemics and pandemics.

Professor Graham Le Gros, Director of the Malaghan Institute and Programme Director of VAANZ says the appointment is an important one and recognises Dr Priddy’s impressive track record, expertise and contribution she is making to global COVID-19 vaccine efforts from here in New Zealand.

“Having spent her career in vaccine development, helping lead the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in New York, and now in her role in VAANZ, Fran’s appointment to the CEPI Scientific Committee comes as no surprise. New Zealand is fortunate that she is representing us in this critical international forum as we prepare for future pandemics.”

Dr Priddy says the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the value of CEPI, which funded early COVID-19 vaccines, co-founded COVAX for global COVID-19 vaccine access, and is now addressing remaining critical vaccine issues. 

“These include scientific gaps such as vaccines for pregnant women and people with HIV. They now have an ambitious agenda to shorten vaccine development to 100 days for future pandemic diseases, the 100 Day Challenge as discussed at the recent G7 meeting.”

She says CEPI's emphasis on science that improves vaccine equity, and addressing pandemic vaccine needs for the developing world really resonates personally.

“My background includes working with a variety of vaccine platforms, adjuvants and clinical strategies for vaccines for diseases like HIV, Lassa fever, Ebola and COVID-19.  I am excited to bring my previous experiences to support CEPI's goals.

“I have had the privilege to help assemble, be advised by and participate in a number of advisory committees throughout my career and realise the critical role that well-informed, constructive advice and decisions play in vaccine development. I look forward to contributing to the CEPI SAC as well as representing the New Zealand and Oceania perspective for emerging infectious disease and pandemic vaccines,” says Dr Priddy.

“It really is a pivotal moment now, where we have the world's attention and the momentum to make sure we support science and vaccine development to ensure we are prepared the next time around.”