Developing a COVID-19 vaccine at warp speed

The third annual Thomas and Salma Haider Biomedical Breakthrough Lecture at the UC Riverside School of Medicine on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, will focus on developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases and an international expert on vaccines, immunology, and virology, will give this year’s lecture titled “Developing a COVID-19 Vaccine at Warp Speed.” Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as well as the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The online event, which begins at 5 p.m., is free and open to the public. Registration information.

Dr. Paul Offit.

A vaccine to prevent COVID-19 — not available currently — may be the best hope for ending the pandemic. About 200 groups of medical researchers worldwide are working on a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that spreads COVID-19.

“We will discuss strategies used to make a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, specifically addressing the concern that these vaccines are being developed too fast,” Offit said. “We will also discuss several features of how to manage expectations once these vaccines are released to the public.”

Offit has received numerous awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. He is the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, recommended for universal use in infants by the CDC in 2006 and by the WHO in 2013. 

Offit has published more than 160 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety and authored several award-winning books. His latest book is Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far (HarperCollins, 2020). More about him. 

The Haider Lecture invites nationally and internationally renowned physicians and researchers to the UCR campus for a keynote lecture and student interaction. This year’s lecture is presented remotely due to the pandemic.