February 23, 2021
Public Safety Personnel Retirement System
State of Arizona
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christian Palmer
PSPRS CIO interviews vaccine developers, top medical experts
M. Steed hosts COVID-19 talk with Mayo Clinic, Moderna, Pfizer and IAVI
Arizona – On January 25, 2021, PSPRS Chief Investment Officer Mark Steed moderated a fascinating hour-long panel discussion focused on the global coronavirus pandemic and the development and delivery of vaccines to fight COVID-19.
The all-star panel, sponsored by iConnections as part of their Virtual Global Alternatives Conference, included four visionary leaders in the medical research space:
- Swati Gupta, Head of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Scientific Strategy at IAVI
- Stephen Hoge, President at Moderna Inc.
- Rich Pelt, Director of Regulatory Affairs Global CMC at Pfizer Inc.
- Dr. Gregory A. Poland, Director of Vaccine Research at Mayo Clinic
“We study and invest in bioscience and medicine and we know exactly why most emerging viruses don’t become a worldwide threat,” said Steed. “To meet and speak with some of the people who are at the very forefront of stopping the coronavirus and saving lives was a huge honor and a great experience.”
The group of industry leaders offered insight into how the CV-19 vaccines now being administered have been developed with unprecedented speed while not sacrificing rigorous scientific trials and testing.
“I can tell you, and I don’t say this lightly as a vaccine developer and scientist, that I wouldn’t hesitate to give the vaccine to either my friends or family,” explained Gupta, who leads IAVI’s Emerging Infectious Disease product portfolio. “And I’m anxious to take one myself.”
Steed led the wide-ranging discussion, including touching on potential constraints in ramping up production of the currently available vaccines; what new vaccines are currently “in the pipeline” to expand available options for the public; and which data the global medical community is using to measure vaccine effectiveness, herd immunity and the risk of possible side effects.
In terms of winning the fight against COVID-19, Pelt, the Pfizer executive, sounded an optimistic note: “For people reading the news and they get nervous, they hear about the new variants, they’ve got lots of friends and family asking questions ... I’d say, ‘One, take a breath and, to coin a phrase, let the science do the work. … We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.’”
The complete panel discussion is available via iConnections' YouTube channel.