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Anthony Fauci and Moncef Slaoui to Keynote a New York Academy of Sciences Symposium on COVID-19 Vaccines

More than a dozen pharmaceutical company leaders and chief scientists set aside competition to share data and status updates on their vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.

Published January 28, 2021

By Nicholas Dirks, President/CEO, The New York Academy of Sciences

Anthony Fauci and Moncef Slaoui to Keynote a New York Academy of Sciences Symposium on COVID-19 Vaccines

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak a year ago, the New York Academy of Sciences has produced more than 30 programs about SARS-CoV-2, ranging from the development of therapeutics and vaccines to the tremendous social and economic impacts of the pandemic. And on February 2nd and 3rd, we are proud to present a scientific “all-star” lineup in The Quest for a COVID-19 Vaccine.

The mission of the New York Academy of Sciences is to address global challenges with science-based solutions—and without a doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century challenge for the global community.  Our programs have helped the public sort fact from fiction, serve as a forum for scientists to share research, and provide opportunities for public health and government leaders to discuss strategies to help people cope with COVID-19’s impact around the world.

The keynote speakers for The Quest for a COVID-19 Vaccine are Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is continuing to work with the Biden administration through a transition period after having served as chief scientific advisor to Operation Warp Speed, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Fauci’s talk is titled: “The Year in Review: A Vaccinologist’s Perspective.”

The symposium demonstrates the Academy’s capabilities and value as a neutral convener. More than a dozen leaders and chief scientists of competitive, global companies have accepted invitations to sit together at our “virtual” table to share data and updates on many of the vaccines that will help end this pandemic.

Tal Zaks, Chief Medical Officer of Moderna, and Kathrin Jansen, Senior VP and Head of Vaccine Research and Development at Pfizer, will discuss the latest efficacy data on their mRNA vaccines, the two vaccines now in use in the US after being granted emergency approval by the FDA.

Jerald Sadoff of Janssen and Johnson & Johnson will share data on the company’s single dose vaccine.  This will be especially timely following Dr. Fauci’s comment in a recent interview that emergency approval for the J&J vaccine could come within weeks.

In addition, pharma leaders and scientists will present efficacy data on three other vaccines in late-stage trials—from Novavax, Oxford-AstraZeneca (already approved for emergency use in the UK), and CanSino Biologics. There will be updates, too, on five vaccines in stage 1 and stage 2 trials—from Codagenix, CureVac, Inovio, Valneva and Vaxart. We will also hear from Merck, about their decision to halt development of its two vaccine candidates.

Scientists at the symposium will also report on: the clinical epidemiology of COVID-19; the virology, immunology, and genetics of SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19 vaccines in the elderly; outbreak predictions; and challenges as we ramp up distribution.

The Quest for a COVID-19 Vaccine symposium follows in our long tradition of providing forums for the sharing of data, perspective, and ideas to drive innovation and discovery. We were that forum in 1948 when we hosted the first conference on antibiotics. In 1983, we convened the world’s first major scientific meeting on AIDS and, in 2003, we hosted the first major conference on SARS. It is work we’ve been doing for well over 200 years, and we are proud to play an important role in supporting the scientific collaboration that will bring an end to the COVID-19 crisis.