The Quest for a COVID-19 Vaccine
Official Launch of the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus and Virtual Panel
A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK: The Quest for a COVID-19 Vaccine
One hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide. Vaccines have probably saved more lives in Canada in the last 50 years than any other health intervention, making investment into vaccine research and innovation a cornerstone in the effort to defeat COVID-19.
What role is Canada playing in vaccine development? In A Race Against the Clock: The Quest for a COVID-19 Vaccine, Dr. Volker Gerdts, Director and CEO of VIDO-InterVac, which is developing candidate vaccines and animal disease models, will moderate a panel comprised of four vaccine experts who will help Parliamentarians understand the unprecedented vaccine R&D efforts being waged in this country to stop the COVID-19 virus in its tracks!
Volker Gerdts, DVM
Director and CEO, VIDO-InterVac
Dr. Volker Gerdts is the Director and CEO of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), located at the University of Saskatchewan. He previously served as Associate Director of Research of VIDO-InterVac from 2007 until 2018. Dr. Gerdts is also a Professor for Veterinary Immunology in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. He received a DVM in 1994 from Hanover Veterinary School and a German PhD equivalent from the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Island of Riems and Hanover Veterinary School, Germany in 1997. He has served in various administrative roles and served on various editorial boards and national and international scientific review panels including NIH, CEPI, STAR-IDAZ, CIHR, CFI, NSERC, and the Gairdner Foundation.
Darryl Falzarano, PhD
Research Scientist, VIDO-InterVac
Adjunct Professor, Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Darryl Falzarano received his PhD from the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba in 2010 for determining the functional importance of post-translation modifications of Ebola virus glycoproteins. He then completed a post-doc at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, in Hamilton, MT where he investigated antiviral strategies for Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). This included the development of a new animal model and the first potential treatment for MERS-CoV.
Scott Halperin, MD
Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University
Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, IWK Health Centre
Director, Canadian Centre for Vaccinology (CCfV)
Dr. Scott Halperin is a Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology at Dalhousie University, and the Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the IWK Health Centre. He is also the co-Principal Investigator for the Immunization Monitoring Program, Active (IMPACT) and a member of CAIRES Management Committee. His research focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pertussis and other vaccine preventable diseases.
Jelena Vojicic, MD
Vaccines Medical Lead – Canada
Dr. Jelena Vojicic leads the Vaccines Medical Affairs Department at Pfizer Canada. Her work focuses on providing scientific and clinical support for Pfizer Vaccines in Canada, which includes analysis of scientific data to inform Global and local research priorities, collaboration with clinical investigators to facilitate Canadian participation in Global clinical development programs, support of Canadian investigator-sponsored research, and engagement with the scientific community, regulators and policy decision-makers to provide scientific expertise related to Pfizer’s vaccines and vaccine candidates in Canada.
Brian J. Ward, MDCM
Professor, Infectious Diseases & Microbiology, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre
Dr. Brian Ward has served in many different roles nationally and internationally in matters related to global health and vaccines. He is currently chair of the Institutional Advisory Board for the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity. Since 2010, he has also served as a medical officer for Medicago Inc. He has a wide range of research interests and has published more than 260 peer-reviewed manuscripts. His research over the years includes subjects from micronutrient interventions for HIV in Africa to parasite sero-epidemiology in Northern Canada, but he has maintained a 3 decade-long interest in vaccines for respiratory viruses including measles, influenza and -most recently- SARS-COV-2. His present research is focused on the exploitation of two novel platforms: virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines produced in plants with Medicago Inc. that target respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses and vaccines based on a highly attenuated Salmonella vector that target gastrointestinal bacteria and parasites.
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