Thursday, December 09, 2010
The 17th Annual Frontiers in Vaccinology lecture, sponsored by the School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD), was held on December 8, 2010. This year’s speaker was Ciro de Quadros, MD, MPH, Executive Vice-President of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington, DC, who spoke about the advances being made in vaccinology that are helping to eradicate diseases like polio, measles and rubella around the world.
Dr. de Quadros is the former director of the Division of Vaccines at Immunization at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and also was chief epidemiologist for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Smallpox Eradication Program in Ethiopia, so he’s seen first-hand how vaccines have helped prevent millions of deaths. Although malaria and yellow fever have not been stopped, vaccines have conquered smallpox, polio and measles in the majority of the world, particularly in the Western Hemisphere. Dr. de Quadros revealed that PAHO had to go door-to-door in some countries in order to get the population properly vaccinated, while other countries held national vaccination days to encourage citizens to protect themselves and their families.
Except in North America, where a small but vocal part of the population proclaims vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent, Dr. de Quadros said he and his colleagues have found unwavering support for vaccination. Even countries at war have declared truce days so that people could be safely vaccinated, and guerilla governments have allowed the doctors and epidemiologists safe passage to do their work.
Dr. de Quadros and his colleagues in the CVD, PAHO and WHO aren’t resting on their laurels, though, despite their success in bringing vaccinations (and a resulting drop in disease) to the world. They are constantly researching new vaccine possibilities for the diseases they have not yet been able to eradicate, and keeping a close eye on the possible reemergence of diseases that have been eradicated so they can never again reassert their deadly spread.
To learn more about the CVD, please visit their website.
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