BMC Seminar Thursday 21 January, 12:00
Speaker: Ingileif Jónsdóttir, PhD, professor of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland and Head infectious and inflammatory diseases, deCODE genetics.
Title: Vaccine development and vaccination against COVID-19
Abstract: The SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 was first identified at the end of 2019 and has as of now by 16th of January 2021 caused close to 95 million cases and over 2 million deaths. There has been an explosion in vaccine development, over 150 vaccines have started preclinical development, over 20 have entered clinical trials,13 already in phase 3 and 3 have been licenced for use in 16-18 years or older in many countries and continents and a few additional vaccines have been licenced for restricted use in a few countries. The COVID-19 vaccines are protein-based, some formulated with an adjuvant, inactivated virus, replicating or non-replicating viral vectors and RNA, thus including approaches that have not previously been licensed for human use. Within a year from the discovery of the SARS-CoV-2 virus two RNA vaccines were already licenced for vaccination of humans, for the first time. I will discuss the pros and cons of different types of COVID-19 vaccines in relation to the immune responses required to protect against SARS-CoV-2 virus. I will present the key results of clinical trials that form the bases for approvals of two mRNA vaccines, from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna/NIAID and the viral vector vaccine from AstraZeneca/University of Oxford and some other vaccines in late-stage development and the steps ahead. Extensive collaboration between academic research groups and institutions, industry, regulatory authorities, and non-profit organization has facilitated development, financing and building up infrastructure for production of vaccines. This has led to extremely rapid development and approval of safe and efficacious vaccines to immunize the world's population. A global effort to control the virus must include a fair and equal access for all countries to effective vaccines.