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Written by: The Exchange

Current events have us very focused on the search for a vaccine for COVID-19. But this is not the first time that scientists have sought quick solutions to address an emerging infection that posed a risk to human health. We have a long history in battling back microbial threats wielding the powerful weapon of vaccines. It’s a complicated, sometimes painstaking process that requires a careful balance between rigor and haste if we’re to get it right. Join our panel of experts to learn first-hand about the behind-the-scenes reality of vaccine development, from SARS to Ebola, and how we’re applying that today as we stand on the front lines in our fight to find a vaccine for COVID-19.


Maria Elena Bottazzi is the Associate Dean at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She serves as co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and has worked in developing new therapeutic vaccines for Chagas disease, schistosomiasis, hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, and SARS.

Jeffrey Kahn is the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He works in a variety of areas of bioethics, exploring the intersection of ethics and health/science policy, including human and animal research ethics, public health, and ethical issues in emerging biomedical technologies.

Jerome Kim is the Director-General of the International Vaccine Institute. A physician by training, he is an international expert on the evaluation and development of vaccines and has strong scientific experience which spans basic research through advanced clinical development. Dr. Kim’s research interests include HIV molecular epidemiology, host genetics, and HIV vaccine development.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.