COVID19 Road to a vaccine podcast episode 4: Professor Kanta Subbarao

In episode 4 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, will be speaking to Professor Kanta Subbarao. Professor Subbarao has been the Director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza since 2016, based at The Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is a virologist and physician who specialises in paediatric infectious diseases. Her research is focused on influenza, as well as newly emerging viral diseases of global importance such as SARS and MERS, which includes immune responses to infection and vaccination. 

In this episode they discuss:

  • The specific virus characteristics of SARS-CoV-2
  • How the biosafety laboratory at VIDRL (Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory) were able to culture the SARS-CoV-2 virus and distribute their findings globally
  • The origin of coronaviruses and why this pandemic strain is different
  • The spike protein and the important role antibodies play in the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
  • Immunological principles in the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
  • How to determine an antibody is functional and protective 
  • The likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 changing over time 

You can listen via our podcast page or via the links below:

Spreaker - Apple - Spotify 

COVID19 Road to a vaccine podcast episode 3: Professor Andrew Pollard

In episode 3 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford will be speaking to Professor Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford. Professor Pollard is head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, who, along with the Jenner Institute, are running the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial.
They will be be discussing:
  • ​The Oxford Vaccine Centre's COVID-19 vaccine trial being run by the Oxford Vaccine Group and The Jenner Institute which Professor Pollard is co-leading 
  • How the Oxford Vaccine Group's previous work on the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus vaccine enabled them to commence work on a SARS-2 vaccine very quickly, using the same platform
  • How the prior research into MERS and SARS vaccines gave huge insight into biology of coronaviruses and likely protective antigens
  • Vaccine safety concerns in vaccine development like antibody enhanced disease (AED) and the important role of vaccine safety in trial design and evaluation
  • An update on progress of The Oxford Vaccine Centre's current trials with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine
  • The use of a control arm in randomised trials and how the COVID-19 Oxford Vaccine Trial are using a meningococcal vaccine in their control arm 
  • How declining disease in the community resulting in lower transmission and flattening of the curve affects both vaccine trial design and location of study sites
  • The upscaling of vaccine manufacturing required in a pandemic and how critical it is that there is global, equitable access to vaccine(s) when they are available
You can listen via our podcast page or via the links below:

COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 2: Professor Kathryn Edwards

In episode 2 of our ‘COVID19 Road to a vaccine series’, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Melbourne, Australia, speaks with Professor Kathryn Edwards. Dr Edwards is a professor of paediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is also vice-chair for clinical research. She is an internationally-recognised expert in vaccinology and, in particular, vaccine safety. 
They will be discussing the important topic of vaccine safety when developing a new vaccine, including some of the challenges faced in the COVID19 vaccine development pathway.
In this episode they discuss:
  • Professor Edwards' perspective on vaccine safety across her roles as a clinician/scientist/researcher
  • Adverse events following immunisation and their implications when developing new vaccines
  • Vaccine safety across the different phases (I to IV) of clinical trials
  • The importance of data safety and monitoring committees in vaccine trials
  • What we can learn from the historical research into the development of SARS and MERS vaccines
  • What is ADE (antibody-dependent enhancement of virus infection) and why is it an important consideration in COVID19 vaccine development?
  • What are adjuvants and how does the use of them affect safety planning?
  • Should pregnant women and children be involved in vaccine trials and how can their participation be managed safely?
  • The importance of transparency and honest communication with the public in regards to vaccine safety

You can listen to the episode via our podcast page or via the links below:

Spreaker - Apple - Spotify 

COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 1: Professor Stanley Plotkin

In Episode 1 of our new podcast series, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, a vaccinologist and consultant paediatrician at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) & Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Melbourne, talks with Stanley Plotkin, Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania; who is well known internationally for his role in vaccine development.

In this episode they discuss:

  • Professor Plotkin’s role in the development of the rubella vaccine, still used throughout the world today
  • His role as the Editor in Chief of the ‘Vaccines’ textbook
  • His role in the formation of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI) and CEPI’s current role in global COVID-19 vaccine development
  • What can we learn from the H1N1 pandemic in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine?
  • How developing a vaccine against coronaviruses is critical to the future of civilisation as economies are being destroyed by these viruses
  • Human challenge models and some of the ethical considerations we need to tackle if these sorts of trials are going to be undertaken to support COVID-19 vaccine development
  • Success can only be achieved through global collaboration in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • How the practical aspects of distributing a vaccine on this scale have never been faced before and the importance of thinking outside the box!


Listen to the episode here:

Spreaker - Apple Podcasts - Spotify Podcasts 

Special MVEC podcast series: COVID19 Road to a vaccine

The year 2020 has seen the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID19), a unique and potentially devastating virus, with no known prevention or treatment. This new SARS-2 virus has shown to not only have significant international health implications, but also immense psychological and economic impacts. Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, a vaccinologist and consultant paediatrician at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) & Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Melbourne, will delve into the global pursuit of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID19. This is all occurring at ‘pandemic speed’ and MVEC’s new podcast will explore this complicated and multi-faceted process through interviews with a variety of national and international vaccine experts.

In our first few episodes, we will be talking with vaccine experts Emeritus Professor Stanley Plotkin, Professor Kathryn Edwards and Professor Andrew Pollard. 

Listen via our podcast page or subscribe below on your preferred podcast platform:

Spreaker - Apple podcasts - Spotify podcasts 

New podcast: COVID-19 and children featuring Associate Professor Nigel Crawford

Associate Professor Nigel Crawford is interviewed by Dr Harry Nespolon, GP and RACGP president on Healthed Australia's Going Viral podcast. They discuss COVID-19 and children and cover the following:

  • Are children super-spreaders, asymptomatic shedders?
  • Transmission at school and home – what do we know?
  • Febrile child – should I suspect COVID-19?
  • Childcare considerations
  • Flu co-infection and vaccination
  • Newborns and vertical transmission

You can listen to the podcast here:

Healthed Australia: Going Viral Episode 27: Children, newborns and transmission; childcare considerations; flu co-infection and vaccination

Clinical Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases David Isaacs talks about the COVID-19 pandemic

Clinical Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases David Isaacs and his son, Mark Isaacs, writer, researcher, photographer and community worker have recorded a podcast about the COVID-19 pandemic and what you need to know. It is a great overview of the COVID-19 pandemic and helps to dispel some of the myths and hysteria surrounding the disease.

The original post with links to the transcript can be found here: Professor David Isaacs talks about COVID-19

The podcast can be found here:

ChangeMakers: Professor David Isaacs Change Maker Chat


MJA podcast now available: COVID-19 in Australia with Professor Allen Cheng

The MJA have released a podcast with Professor Allen Cheng, Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology Unit at Alfred Health. He and MJA news and online editor Cate Swannell discuss how COVID-19 may behave in Australia and how we can protect ourselves and our patients.

Listen to the podcast here:

MJA Podcasts 2020 Episode 8: COVID-19 in Australia, with Prof Allen Cheng


Coronavirus: What are viruses? And how do they spread?

Dr Rosalind Eggo of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explains in this video from the BBC how viruses like the recently-detected coronavirus can spread globally. 

BBC: What are viruses? And how do they spread?

New podcast with Katrina Clark now available!

MVEC's latest podcast is now available!

In this episode, Katrina Clark discusses her role as the National Indigenous Immunisation Coordinator, the importance of immunisation for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, as well as what we can do to enhance coverage in this group.

To begin listening please follow the link below:

Episode 3: Katrina Clark- immunising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities