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-CoV-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.

This week we bring you the final episode of our series, COVID19 Road to a vaccine. Our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks with Professor Walter Orenstein. Dr Orenstein is a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, Global Health and Paediatrics at Emory University; Associate Director of the Emory Vaccine Center and the Director of Emory Vaccine Policy and Development. An expert in vaccinology, Dr Orenstein has worked at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Director of the United States Immunisation Program and is a current member of several WHO groups. Further to this he is the co-editor of the vaccine textbook, Plotkin’s Vaccines, 7th edition. In this episode they discuss key points from our series and the next steps on the road to COVID-19 vaccine/s.

In episode 17, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Dr Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer (PHO) for the Province of BC in Canada. As the PHO Bonnie is leading the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonnie has been in this role since the beginning of 2018 and prior to this was the deputy PHO for three years. She specialises in public health and preventative medicine, and has a background working with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF polio eradication program in Pakistan and with the WHO during the Ebola outbreak in Uganda. She has experience leading responses to SARS, the H1N1 pandemic and the overdose emergency in BC. Bonnie is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine and is a member of the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunisation. She and Nigel discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is being managed in British Columbia, Canada.

In episode 16, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks once again with Professor Norman Baylor. Professor Baylor is the former Director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review Center at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is the President and CEO of Biologics Consulting and current advisor to the WHO. In this episode they discuss where the regulatory processes are currently at with COVID-19 vaccine candidates. In particular, they discuss the recent FDA Vaccines and related biological products advisory committee meeting which was, as is customary, open to the public. 

In episode 15, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Professor Lynn Gillam. Lynn is a clinical ethicist who trained in philosophy and bioethics. She is a Professor in the Centre for Health Equity, in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne; and the Academic Director of The Children’s Bioethics Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The Children’s Bioethics Centre provides support including ethical decision making for clinicians in relation to patient care issues. Nigel and Lynn will discuss some of the ethical issues raised in the setting of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, utilising a framework of points raised by Dr John Lantos from the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, USA, at the recent Bioethics E-Conference hosted by The Children’s Bioethics Centre.

In episode 14, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Dr Bruce Gellin. Bruce is the President of Global Immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington. The Sabin Vaccine Institute’s mission is to make vaccines more accessible, enable innovation and expand immunisation across the globe. Bruce took up this role in 2017, prior to this serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the National Vaccine Program Office at the US Department of Health and Human Services where he served as technical and policy advisor to the WHO, focusing on influenza vaccines and global issues of vaccine hesitancy. Bruce has also worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consulted for GAVI and is one of America’s principle spokespeople on vaccines and immunisations. He and Nigel discuss a range of topics in the context of vaccine acceptance.

In episode 13, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Professor Kim Mulholland. Kim is a paediatrician and Professor of Child Health from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of Melbourne department of Paediatrics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. With post-graduate training in immunology, respiratory medicine and tropical medicine, his vast experience includes developing a program of research covering all aspects of childhood pneumonia which helped guide WHO policies. He has been involved in the oversight of many vaccine trials and has served on steering committees or DSMBs for a range of vaccines including pneumococcal, dengue, RSV and COVID-19. He and Nigel discuss global issues brought about by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

In episode 12 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Professor Heidi Larson. Heidi is an anthropologist and Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Vaccine Confidence Project is a WHO centre of excellence on addressing vaccine hesitancy. Heidi is the previous head of Global Immunisation Communication at UNICEF, chaired GAVI’s advocacy taskforce and served on the WHO SAGE working group on vaccine hesitancy. In this episode they discuss vaccine confidence from a global perspective.

In episode 11 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Nigel Crawford, speaks to experts in vaccine confidence, Associate Professor Margie Danchin and Professor Julie Leask. Margie is a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital, an Associate Professor within the University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, where she is the leader of the Vaccine Uptake Group. Julie is a social scientist and Professor at the University of Sydney and a visiting Professorial Fellow at NCIRS (the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance). In this episode they discuss vaccine confidence in relation to a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from an Australian perspective.

In episode 10 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Nigel Crawford, speaks with Professors Paul Young and Trent Munro to discuss the University of Queensland (UQ) COVID-19 vaccine candidate. UQ and CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation) have partnered with CSL (Seqirus) to advance their novel molecular clamp technology to develop their vaccine for COVID-19. This vaccine has recently progressed to Phase 1 clinical trials.

In episode 9 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks with Professor Robert Booy. Robert is a Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney and is a Senior Professorial Fellow at NCIRS, the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance at Westmead Children’s Hospital. He has special research interests in serious infections and their prevention, particularly in the setting of aged care facilities. In this episode they discuss special risk groups when it comes to SARS-CoV-2, in particular, those living and working in aged care facilities.

In episode 8 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks with Professor Katie Flanagan. Katie is Head of Infectious Diseases at Launceston General Hospital and is affiliated with the University of Tasmania, Monash University and RMIT where she is involved in a broad range of research projects, with her main interests being in vaccinology and infectious diseases immunology. She has led a number of vaccine immunology trials. She and Nigel will be discussing some of the vaccine approaches and immunological aspects of SARS-CoV-2.

In episode 7 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford speaks with Professor Norman Baylor. Professor Baylor is the former Director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review Center at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is the President and CEO of Biologics Consulting and current advisor to the WHO.

In episode 6 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Professor Paul Offit. Professor Offit is an infectious diseases physician and Director of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHoP) Vaccine Education Center (VEC). The VEC website inspired the creation of the Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre, the host of this podcast series. 

In episode 5 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford speaks to Professor Terry Nolan. Professor Nolan is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. He heads up VIRGO, the vaccine and immunisation research group, a collaboration between Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the University of Melbourne. VIRGO has the largest and longest standing child and adolescent vaccine population research and clinical trials program in Australia.

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.

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.

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.

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.