Two Nigerians have been selected to join the scientific advisory committee of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations over the next three years.

Sani Aliyu and Alash’le Abimiku join 32 other experts selected globally to provide world-class scientific input and recommendation to guide CEPI response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Aliyu is the former national coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Abimiku is executive director of International Research Centre of Excellence at the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria.

They will also deliver guidance and challenge towards CEPI’s US$3.5bn plan, announced in March 2021, to mitigate or even dramatically reduce the threat of future pandemics and epidemics.

CEPI is currently funding several projects towards the development of a Lassa fever vaccine.

This includes an ongoing Lassa fever epidemiological study in three states in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

In addition, CEPI, together with GAVI, WHO and UNICEF are co-founders of COVAX, which has provided about 3.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Nigeria.

The commitment is to provide sufficient doses to cover at least 20% of Nigeria’s population in 2021.

The new members on the committee, named in Oslo this week, begin their roles this June.

“The expert group has already served as a pivotal force in propelling our scientific understanding and insight forward for our priority diseases like Lassa fever, Ebola, and, today, COVID-19,” said Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI.