Michael Callahan, MD, Director, Clinical Translation at VIC, was deployed to cruise ships to provide emergency medical help during the COVID-19 outbreak earlier in the year and is now assisting with advice on continuity of business. The cruise ship articles in the Miami Herald, of which this is the latest, prompted a WHO Working Group to reduce international spread to which Michael has been invited.
Mark Poznansky MD, PhD, A Steve and Deborah Gorlin MGH Research Scholar, explains his approach to developing a vaccine for COVID-19
“The current COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how quickly an emerging infectious disease (EID) can spread across the globe, threaten individual heath and wreak havoc on the economy and our way of lives.
Almost a decade before the current COVID-19 outbreak, Mass General investigator and Infectious Diseases Physician, Mark Poznansky, MD, PhD, received funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a platform for accelerated vaccine development in the event of a rapidly spreading EID.
That forward-thinking funding resulted in…”
Dr. Mark Poznansky was interviewed live on All in with Chris Hayes MSNBC, April 14 to discuss vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chris acknowledged that Dr. Poznansky is beginning research on a vaccine at the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at MGH and the discussion was based around the timeline for a vaccine and the efficacy of a vaccine before it can be used on millions of people worldwide. Dr. Poznansky also said that links with industry are crucial in order to move forward with efficacy studies and manufacturing after the initial vaccine design and noted that we are collaborating with Voltron, Inc and Hoth Therapeutics for this purpose.
The Scientific American article makes for very interesting reading – written by William A. Haseltine a mentor of Mark Poznansky, when he was doing research in the HIV field.
“In the event of any infectious disease outbreak, our minds turn to vaccines—and they do so for good reason. They’re safe, relatively expensive and have worked well for diseases including smallpox, polio, yellow fever, and, most recently, Ebola.
Will a vaccine come as easily for the novel coronavirus? The answer is maybe yes, maybe not. The “maybe yes” comes from the observation that in animal studies, coronaviruses stimulate strong immune responses, which seem capable of knocking out the virus. Recovery from COVID-19 may be in large part due to effective immune response. The “maybe not” comes from evidence just as strong, at least with earlier SARS and MERS viruses, that natural immunity to these viruses is short-lived. In fact, some animals can be reinfected with the very same strain that caused infection in the first place…”
Opinion piece by Mark C. Poznansky, MD, PhD in the Boston Globe on measures required for the economic recovery from the coronavirus.
“Right now, the overwhelming emphasis to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is appropriately placed on testing for the virus, protecting those who are most susceptible, treating the sick, and flattening the pandemic peak. Tremendous leadership, innovation, and dedication to containing the disease across each of these areas continues to evolve.”