Successful virtual conference for global bacterial vaccinology network

Illustration of people standing around a globe
More than 200 scientists, industry figures and policy-makers from 30 countries around the world gathered online for the BactiVac Virtual Network Conference

More than 200 scientists, industry figures and policy-makers from 30 countries around the world gathered online for the BactiVac Virtual Network Conference 2021 hosted at the University of Birmingham in the UK.

High-profile contributors at the event, held on 27 and 28 April, included Professor Dame Sally Davies, the UK Special Envoy on Anti-Microbial Resistance, as well as Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics Dr Stanley A. Plotkin, who pioneered the Rubella vaccine and spoke live from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States. Other contributors joined the hybrid event in a series of live and pre-recorded sessions from a variety of locations around the world including India, Bangladesh, China, Africa, Ireland, the US and the UK.

BactiVac Director Professor Cal MacLennan said: “We have had two days of fantastic talks, delivering the latest advances in key areas including anti-microbial resistance, the production of vaccines in Europe, India and China, the crucial role of regulators, maternal vaccination in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), the vital role of industry and the nexus between human and veterinary medicine. We opted to hold an online conference this year due to the ongoing COVID-19--related restrictions and, while we have missed out on the in-person networking aspect of a conference, we have gained real and valuable insights from our talks.”

BactiVac Co-Director Adam Cunningham, Professor of Functional Immunity at the University of Birmingham, said: “BactiVac is important because it helps bring people together from all disciplines to share their expertise. We saw this probably most clearly in Kathy Neuzil’s talk, showing how a single dose of one vaccine against typhoid reduced cases by 80%. This is the combination of decades of work from multiple people, from basic scientists to chemists, to epidemiologists and policymakers all the way along the pipeline.”

Based at the University of Birmingham in the UK and with more than a thousand members worldwide, BactiVac is the only global bacterial vaccinology network. It brings together members to advance vaccines against bacterial pathogens, advocates for them and offers funding opportunities for training and research. Its mission is to streamline and speed up the production of much-needed bacterial vaccines of global health significance.

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