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Vaccines and monoclonals to regain our freedom, with Prof. Rino Rappuoli – the IBSA Foundation Forum

21 July 2021

“Vaccines and monoclonals to regain our freedom” is the title of the Special Forum held by IBSA Foundation for scientific research as part of the sixteenth International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML), the most important international event for the research and treatment of lymphoid neoplasms, organised by Professor Cavalli and Fondazione per l’Istituto di Ricerca Oncologica (IOR). The event was held online as one of the ICML’s Special Sessions in collaboration with Professor Andrea Alimonti (Università della Svizzera italiana - USI, IOR and IBSA Foundation).  

The lecture was given by Professor Rino Rappuoli, Chief Scientist and Head External R&D of GSK Vaccines in Siena (Italy), Scientific Coordinator of the MAD Lab at Toscana Life Sciences Foundation and Professor of Vaccines Research at the Imperial College London and winner of the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, the Canada Gairdner International Award and the European Inventor Award for Lifetime Achievement and recipient of the Medaglia D’Oro of the President of the Italian Republic “For merit in public health” and the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal.
Prof. Rappuoli traced back over the development of studies that have led to mass immunisation one year after the start of the pandemic. “At the end of January 2020, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention published the genomic sequence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and that first emerged in the Hubei province, China, in December 2019. A year later the COVID-19 pandemic is registering a current world death toll of approximately 3 million and 117 million diagnosed cases and is hurling 21st century society into a deep socio-economic crisis,” remarked Prof. Rappuoli. “In this scenario and in an unprecedented and exceptional short development timespan, active immunisation, and passive immunisation through vaccines and monoclonals, respectively, are proving to be the best weapons available to save lives, safeguard the economy, and regain our freedom.

The Forum was introduced by Silvia Misiti, Director of IBSA Foundation for scientific research and Prof. Alimonti, member of the Scientific Board of IBSA Foundation for scientific research, Director of the Molecular Oncology Laboratory of the IOR in Bellinzona and Università degli Studi di Padova and Full Professor of Oncology at Università della Svizzera italiana, Università degli Studi di Padova and ETH of Zurich.
After one year of pandemic mass immunisation, the main goal is to reduce the global public health damage unleashed” noted Prof. Alimonti. “The world’s attention is on vaccines and monoclonals that, through active or passive immunisation, will be the essential for the re-appropriation of our freedom. Although the recent approval of anti-viral drugs and monoclonal antibodies, COVID-19 vaccines are essential not only to prevent virus spread, but also to restore social and economic activities via mass immunisation.

You may listen to the Forum and download the Paper for free on the event’s webpage.

Rino Rappuoli is Chief Scientist and Head External R&D at GSK Vaccines, based in Siena (Italy), Scientific Coordinator of the MAD Lab at Toscana Life Sciences Foundation and Professor of Vaccines Research, Imperial College, London. Prior positions were head of Vaccine R&D at Novartis, CSO of Chiron Corporation, and head for R&D at Sclavo. He earned his PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena, Italy, and was visiting scientist at Rockefeller University and Harvard Medical School. He is elected member of US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and the Royal Society of London. Awards received include: the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, the Gold Medal by the Italian President, the Albert B Sabin Gold Medal, the Canada Gairdner International Award, and the European Inventor Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was nominated third most influential person worldwide in the field of vaccines (Terrapin). He has published more than 690 works in peer-reviewed journals. He introduced novel scientific concepts: genetic detoxification; cellular microbiology; reverse vaccinology; pangenome. Developed licensed vaccines: acellular pertussis containing a non-toxic mutant of pertussis toxin; the first conjugate vaccine against meningococcus C; MF59, the first vaccine adjuvant after aluminium salts; meningococcus B; CRM197 that is used as carrier in many conjugate vaccines. Dr. Rappuoli is among the world scientific leaders dedicated to the sustainability of global health.

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