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Fiocruz president joins CEPI’s Board  


Cristina Azevedo (Fiocruz News Agency)


The president of Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Nísia Trindade Lima, has been appointed to the Board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). She becomes one of two representatives for Latin America on the Board. CEPI is an international organization, that aims to fund research projects to accelerate vaccines against epidemics.

CEPI has secured funding from over thirty governments, philanthropic institutions and private sector investors to date, with other twenty-five vaccine development partnerships established (Photo: CEPI)

Composed of 12 voting members, CEPI’s Board provides oversight of the strategy, performance, and accountability of CEPI. It ensures the organization will contribute to improve the world’s preparedness against epidemics and pandemics. In this regard, the organization and Fiocruz share the mission of enabling equitable access to vaccines and other health technologies. Nísia’s participation on the Board also occurs at a critical moment when the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic and organizations need to reinvent themselves to overcome the obstacles of the future. 

Chair of the CEPI Board, Jane Halton, said: “I am delighted to welcome Dr. Nísia Trindade Lima to the CEPI Board. As a leading health expert, with tremendous insight into and understanding around the science and health arena within Latin America, Dr Lima’s experience and knowledge will be invaluable to progressing CEPI’s mission going forward. 

“Dr. Lima’s unique expert perspective from her background as a sociologist and scientist will deeply enrich the Board’s discussions as we continue to work around the clock to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. She will also aid our work as we begin to implement our $3.5bn plan to build the life-saving tools and networks so that we are better prepared for future infectious disease outbreaks.” 

As the appointment comes effective immediately, Nísia will take part in this week’s CEPI Board meeting, taking place today Thursday 16th September and Friday 17th September. She will also serve on the Audit and Risk Committee, one of the four CEPI Board Committees.  

 “I assume this responsibility as a recognition of my work and, above all, as a commitment to bring the perspective learned at Fiocruz of both thinking about new innovation technologies facing health emergencies, as well as associating this innovation to achieve equity in health”, said Nísia. “It is also very important to value the perspective of the Latin American and Caribbean region and an interdisciplinary vision of scientific knowledge, necessary for preparedness actions in crucial times like these in which we live.” 

A global partnership 

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, is a global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organizations, founded in 2017 in Davos, in the wake of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. It was launched by the governments of Germany, Japan, Norway, and India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and the World Economic Forum following a consensus that a coordinated, international, and intergovernmental plan was needed to develop and deploy new vaccines against epidemics caused by emerging infectious diseases and enable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks. CEPI has secured funding from over thirty governments, philanthropic institutions and private sector investors to date, with other twenty-five vaccine development partnerships established. 

In response to the pandemic, CEPI has invested up to US$1.5 billion in fourteen COVID-19 vaccine candidates to date. It also co-leads COVAX, alongside the World Health Organization (WHO), GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and key delivery partner to make doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines globally accessible and hasten the end of the acute phase of the pandemic.  

In March 2021, CEPI published its US$3.5bn plan to minimise or even eradicate future epidemic and pandemic risk, potentially averting millions of deaths and trillions of dollars in economic damage. The plan includes the “moonshot” objective to help compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days, the creation of a library of prototype vaccines to rapidly respond if a virus emerges, and the development of infrastructure and expertise to support the efforts of low-and middle-income countries to take full ownership of their national health security. 

Nísia and Fiocruz 

Holding a PhD in Sociology and a master’s degree in Political Science, Nísia Trindade Lima is the first female president of Fiocruz, a 121-year-old scientific institution that is responsible in Brazil for the production of Oxford/AstraZeneca anti-COVID-19 vaccine. Fiocruz has all its units and departments focused on responding to the pandemic, with Nisia on the front line since the beginning. On September 1st, she was granted the Knight Grade of France’s Legion of Honor for her work in favor of Public Health.  

Linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Fiocruz is the largest public health academic institution in Latin American and Caribbean Region. As its president, Nísia follows closely the work of many PAHO/WHO collaborating centers and scientific networks in the Latin American Countries and Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), coordinated by the institution. She also follows the work developed at Fiocruz’ office in Mozambique, which articulates health cooperation programs with African countries. In the beginning of 2020, she inaugurated a laboratory in the new Brazilian Antarctic Station.   

In September, she was awarded the degree of Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor of France, offered by the Government of France, in recognition of her work in the fields of science and health and for the services rendered to society in the response to the
COVID-19 pandemic.

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