Video Webinars – Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World
The global spread of COVID-19 has caused dramatic changes in our daily lives and left many wondering, "How did we get here?" and "How can we do better?" The exhibit Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World explores the factors that increase the risk that new diseases will emerge and provides an intellectual framework for understanding how viruses can spill over from animals and become a global pandemic. In conjunction with the exhibition, we are hosting programs to help put COVID-19 into context.
Vaccines in the Time of COVID-19
A weekly series offered Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. EDT, starting June 23, 2020.
Vaccines have been heralded as the holy grail of disease prevention in the 20th and 21st centuries, reducing infant mortality and improving life expectancy worldwide. As we navigate the present COVID-19 pandemic, government officials, scientists, and economists urge that the path forward hinges on development of a safe and effective vaccine — with some even suggesting that one will be available in as little as a year.
Drawing upon the expertise of research scientists, federal agencies, and anthropologists, this four-part series will demystify the production of vaccines. The series will begin with an insider’s perspective on research approaches, followed by presentations on safety and testing, approval, the supply chain, and issues of equity and access.
Moderator: Sabrina Sholts, Curator of Biological Anthropology at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
All times are Eastern Daylight Time.
Part 1: The Science of Vaccines
Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 12:30 p.m.
Early vaccines relied on exposing the immune system to weakened versions of a pathogen to elicit an immune response. Modern vaccinologists, however, make use of different strategies to stimulate immunity. Part 1 of Vaccines in the Time of COVID-19 discussed the tools that immunologists make use of and which approaches are most promising to combat COVID-19.
Speaker: Barney Graham, Deputy Director of the Vaccine Research Center, and Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory and Translational Science Core at NIAID/NIH
Part 2: Ensuring Vaccine Safety
Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 12:30 p.m.
Rigorous testing before gaining approval is paramount to ensuring the safety of vaccines. Yet this critical step often adds years to the timeline of vaccine development. Part 2 of Vaccines in the Time of COVID-19 will discuss the testing and approval process, with consideration for how safety can be maintained within a shortened development cycle.
- Walt Orenstein, Director of the Emory Program on Vaccine Policy and Development
- Paul Offit, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pa.
Part 3: From the Laboratory to a Shot in the Arm
Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 12:30 p.m.
Vaccine producers around the world are already scaling up production of the raw materials needed to construct a COVID-19 vaccine to meet global demand. Part 3 of Vaccines in the Time of COVID-19 will discuss how vaccines are produced and how that production is financed and distributed, including implications for equitable distribution.
Speaker: Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines and Human Immunobiology, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Part 4: Vaccines and Society
Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 12:30 p.m.
A broadly disseminated COVID-19 vaccine could help world populations reach a level of community immunity that would end the pandemic, but concerns over safety will undoubtedly contribute to some hesitancy to be vaccinated. Part 4 of Vaccines in the Time of COVID-19 will discuss the policy and societal conditions driving vaccine hesitancy.
Speaker: Sharon Kaufman, Professor Emerita and former Chair of the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California San Francisco