The Global Health Security Intiative & Pandemic Preparedness Initiative is launching a monthly seminar series starting this Fall. The theme for the fall seminar series is "Pandemic Preparedness: Improving Science, Technology, & Access." All countries around the world, especially during a public health emergency, warrant access to appropriate vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Increasing access to medical countermeasures can serve to foster a willingness among countries to rapidly share genomic data and samples. In the last 50 years, major scientific advances in the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics have transformed the field of pandemic preparedness. The fields of genomics, biotechnology and molecular biology in particular, have led to faster and more effective gene-based diagnostics, therapeutics, and other technologies. Yet, many barriers still remain in R&D and more works needs to be done. This seminar series will shed light on some of the advancements in science and technology thus far as well as some of the obstacles common to these processes.
The first lunchtime seminar was held on September 26th Dr. Ethan Settembre, Vice President of research at Seqirus, discussed "Evolution of the Influenze Vaccine System." Our second seminar with Colonel Matthew Hepburn, Program Manager for the Biological Technologies Office at DAPRA was held on October 17th where he provided insight into DARPA's role in pandemic preparedness. The upcoming seminar in November will feature Kendall Hoyt of Darmouth University and the December seminar will welcome Professor Marc Lipsitch from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health where he will discuss "Preparing to test vaccines in infectious disease emergencies: Science, Ethics and Policy."