VIDO-InterVac Targets Predictive Research for Vaccine Development

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Farmscape for July 13, 2020

Full Interview 16:16 Listen

The Director and CEO of VIDO-InterVac suggests the technology exists to create vaccines in anticipation of the next pandemic.
The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization expects to begin human testing of a COVID-19 vaccine this fall. VIDO-InterVac Director and CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts says, with the infection spreading and people dying, the biggest pressure in this type of situation is time.

Clip-Dr. Volker Gerdts-VIDO-InterVac:
Emerging diseases will continue to emerge. New infections will continue to emerge. Viruses, bacteria, parasites, they all continue to mutate and, as these diseases emerge, we’re trying to catch up in making vaccines as quickly as possible and that’s what we’re doing right now. Research at VIDO-InterVac though is focussed on a more transformational approach, trying to anticipate what the next pathogen might look like and make a vaccine before the disease emerges. That sounds a bit crazy, sounds a bit blue sky but science is there now that allows us to, at least and our high containment labs and our secure facilities here, to kind of predict how these viruses may mutate and what regions of the genome they may mutate in and how that would result in them looking different in terms of vaccines and so on.
What that would allow is, essentially, we could make these vaccines in anticipation of these pathogens and when they actually emerge, we would have vaccines for them immediately available. So we don’t need to wait 12 to 18 months before we have a vaccine, lose millions of people and economies losing trillions of dollars. We would be able to have a vaccine available at the time or even before a new disease emerges.

Dr. Gerdts acknowledges this is ground-breaking and it is transforming how vaccines are being developed right now.

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