Presentations will focus on vaccines for HIV, neglected diseases, and pandemic preparedness.
The 23rd annual World Vaccine Congress, April 3-6 in Washington, D.C., promises to be a key opportunity for vaccine developers to assess lessons learned from COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases and to evaluate unmet needs for infectious disease response.
Several IAVI leaders will be giving talks at the Congress. Mark Feinberg, IAVI president and CEO, will be speaking Monday, April 3, at a workshop entitled Is an HIV vaccine needed? Status of therapies and vaccines. Specifically, his topic is mRNA for HIV vaccination — updates from IAVI & Moderna HIV vaccination trials, during which he’ll discuss current and future plans for designing and developing germline-targeting HIV vaccine antigens delivered via Moderna’s mRNA platform. Two IAVI-sponsored trials are ongoing and are linked to IAVI and partners’ broader product development plan to produce a vaccination regimen targeting the production of two to three classes of broadly neutralizing antibodies.
On April 6, Feinberg will join Jerome Kim, Peter Hotez, and Miriam Laufer in a plenary session on The silent, forgotten and underfunded: Malaria, HIV and neglected diseases will catch up to cause more deaths than COVID.
Vaccine Nation, the Congress’s news outlet, interviewed Feinberg recently to preview his remarks at the Congress. He described how, for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, the public health response was compromised during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be challenging to get back on track: “You know the nature of infectious diseases is, when a problem is going in a bad direction, it has continued momentum to continue to go in the bad direction for a while. And so it’s not just that, simply restarting the earlier intensity of the control efforts is necessary. You need to think about augmenting that to really not only make progress, but get back on track.” The April 6 panelists will examine threats to global immunization programs and pathways for sustainable funding for global health vaccines, among other topics.
Marion Gruber, IAVI’s vice president of public health and regulatory science, will open the session Global health preparedness strategy & priority pathogens, on April 5 in the emerging and re-emerging diseases track. IAVI’s Andrew Kilianski, senior director, emerging infectious diseases, will speak in that session on Vaccine development during outbreaks — How to break the vaccine development cycle for “emerged” filovirus threats, a topic recently highlighted during the fall 2023 Ebola Sudan virus disease outbreak in Uganda. He will focus on what IAVI has learned from its successes in this area, as well as the challenges to overcome so that we can be better prepared for future outbreaks of filovirus diseases.
Kilianski will also participate in a panel in the veterinary vaccines track later that day, Creating a streamlined approach to preventing pandemics that start at the animal level. This panel will discuss the One Health concept, which involves the intersection of environmental, animal, and human health drivers. Zoonotic pathogens such as the ones IAVI works on in our emerging infectious diseases program have a very tight association with various environmental elements, and Kilianski will outline considerations for vaccine development for these threats using the One Health lens.
The full agenda for the World Vaccine Congress is available here.