Top American scientist in webinar on COVID-19 vaccine development

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Best case scenarios for COVID-19 include the development of a vaccine. This week, medical professionals can tap into the knowledge of top United States scientist Dr Larry Corey to learn about rapidly-advancing research into the virus and vaccine development. Corey – one of the world’s most highly cited biomedical researchers, with more than 1,000 publications – is presenting this week’s Discovery CPD Points-earning webinar. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.

The webinar takes place on Thursday 25 June, from 19.00 to 20.00. The topic is: “From the Frontlines – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) programme in COVID-19 immunisation”.

The American medical scientist will be in discussion with Professor Linda-Gail Bekker of the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town. Bekker is deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre and chief operating officer of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, past president of the International Aids Society and on the board of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, among many other achievements.

The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre is a partner to the Discovery-MedicalBrief webinar series, along with the SA Medical Association, the SA Private Practitioners Forum and the Unity Forum for Family Practitioners.




Conventional wisdom has been that a vaccine against COVID-19 will take up to two years, although there have been indications that this could be speeded up. Research into vaccine development and into multiple other coronavirus prevention and treatment options has become a global effort on an unprecedented level.

In the event of progress, difficulties in upping production of medicines in a short time have been seen as an obstacle, and there have been discussions around how sectors of populations could be strategically targeted, such as health workers, the elderly and cities.

A wide range of COVID-associated research is taking place at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases(NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

The research, emerging results and their implications are matters of global importance, and will be among matters explored by Dr Corey during the webinar, in discussion with Professor Bekker. There will be a focus on the NIAID programme in COVID-19 immunisation. After this, Dr Corey will answer questions posed by webinar participants.

Dr Larry Corey

Dr Larry Corey is a globally recognised expert in virology, immunology and vaccine development and a professor of medicine and laboratory medicine at the University of Washington in the United States. He is former president and director of Fred Hutch –Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and is a member of its Vaccine and Infectious Disease, Public Health Sciences and Clinical Research divisions.

His research focuses on herpes viruses, HIV and other viral infections, particularly those associated with cancer. He is principle investigator of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), which conducts studies of HIV vaccines in more than 30 cities on five continents, and led the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) from 1987 to 1992.

According to HVTN, where he is principal investigator: “Dr Corey’s research has transformed the way we manage patients globally. With Nobel Laureate Dr Gertrude Elion, he was the first to demonstrate that an antiviral compound, acyclovir, specific for a viral enzyme could be safely and effectively administered to control a chronic viral infection.

“These studies provided the foundation for the subsequent development of antiviral therapy for HIV and hepatitis viruses. Under his leadership at the ACTG, AZT was shown to reduce maternal foetal transmission; providing the impetus for the introduction of antiretrovirals to avert paediatric HIV infections internationally.

“He pioneered the use of viral load as predictors of clinical benefit and his studies demonstrating the early administration of combination antiretroviral therapy provided the strategy to reduce HIV morbidity and mortality globally. Corey’s work in HSV-2 established the framework for understanding the herpes pandemic and its role in HIV acquisition and progression.”



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