20 May 2021
20 May, 2021; Oslo, Norway—The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the global partnership to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics, today announced the appointment of Dr Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH, as US Director. Dr Lurie is a leading expert in global health and emergency preparedness and response and, since 2017, has led CEPI’s emergency response efforts including its global response to COVID-19. She has also served as a Strategic Advisor to the CEO and will continue to do so. Prior to joining CEPI, Dr. Lurie served an 8-year term as Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), a Presidentially appointed position at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
During her service with HHS, Dr Lurie led national responses to public health emergencies ranging from the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and other infectious disease outbreaks to natural and man-made disasters and was responsible for many innovations in emergency preparedness and response.
US Director and Strategic Advisor to the CEO
She also chaired the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE), a US Government organization responsible for the development of medical countermeasures, including vaccines against pandemics and emerging threats and led the 2010 PHEMCE Review that resulted in dramatic improvements in the efficiency of medical countermeasures development.
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI
Prior to her appointment as ASPR, she was the Paul O’Neill Professor of Policy Analysis at RAND, a global policy think tank, where she started and led the public health preparedness program and RAND’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. She has had leadership roles in academia, as Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Minnesota, as Medical Advisor to the Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health, and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
CEPI’s work with the US Government
In October, 2020, The US Agency for International Development, USAID, announced US$20 million in financial support of CEPI to advance the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.
CEPI also has a number of partnerships with world-leading US biomedical institutions including the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as a wide range of US-based vaccine developers who are working with CEPI to develop vaccines against COVID-19, MERS, Nipah virus, Lassa fever, and Rift Valley Fever. These developers include Auro Vaccines, Colorado State University, Emergent Biosolutions, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, Novavax, The University of Pittsburgh, and VBI Vaccines (see CEPI’s portfolio for more details).
CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics. Prior to COVID-19 CEPI’s work focused on developing vaccines against 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. CEPI has also invested in new platform technologies for rapid vaccine development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).
During the current pandemic, CEPI initiated multiple programmes to develop vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants with a focus on speed, scale and access. These programmes leverage the rapid response platforms previously developed by CEPI’s partners prior to the emergence of COVID-19 as well as new collaborations. The aim is to advance clinical development of a diverse portfolio of safe and effective COVID-19 candidates and to enable fair allocation to these vaccines worldwide through COVAX.
CEPI’s 5-year plan lays out a $3.5 billion roadmap to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days, develop a universal vaccine against COVID-19 and other Betacoronaviruses, and create a “library” of vaccine candidates for use against known and unknown pathogens. The plan is available at endpandemics.cepi.net.
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