On September 18th, 2023, the Karikó promotion of the Master LIVE had the opportunity to welcome Sir Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, as a guest speaker for the course “Communicating on vaccines and public health” at the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1.
Professor Hill delivered the lecture “Pandemic preparedness: a vaccinology perspective” based on his first-hand experience as part of the team that developed the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. During his presentation, he provided insight into the development process of this vaccine starting from the vaccine technology and clinical trials to the partnership with AstraZeneca and the challenges for manufacturing and scaling up. Professor Hill discussed the impact that this vaccine had during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it was the most widely used vaccine up to 2021 as a consequence of having approval in 184 countries. Up to this year, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is estimated to have averted around 6 million deaths, the highest number among all available vaccines. Professor Hill also reflected on the lessons learned from this experience. He acknowledged that this development was possible thanks to the institute’s experience in vaccine development, the access to experienced trial centers, funding access, and regulatory support as key for the fast launch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Likewise, he commented on the challenges that need to be addressed to ensure better preparedness for future pandemics such as the manufacturing capacity, regulatory uniformity, better information management, and a plan for equitable vaccine distribution.
Undoubtedly, students were inspired by the positive note on which the lecture ended, as the vaccinology field is better than ever: technology is more advanced, development is faster, investments in translational research, and especially the fact that the world is now more aware of the pandemic risks.
Students found this lecture interesting and highlighted that the interactivity and engagement of Prof. Hill made it clear to understand. Students greatly appreciated the Q&A time as they had the opportunity to receive an expert’s opinion on questions and concerns that were difficult to address. The session ended with a personal moment shared among the students and Prof. Hill, one student described: “I was so excited to meet him, […] learning from him and his work and having a class photo was such an honor”. It was truly a privilege for the Karikó promotion to have learned from a researcher of such caliber.
2023.09.18 – Anna & Luis, Prom’ Kariko