Conference: Coordinating the development of self-disseminating vaccines for spillover prevention


A workshop will be held in Portland, Oregon to consider the issues concerning the development of a transmissible vaccine. Spillover of zoonotic pathogens has proven difficult to control and virtually impossible to eliminate. Although animal vaccination programs using standard methods have reduced the burden of spillover in some cases (e.g., rabies, brucellosis), other regions endure continued spillover because logistical and financial challenges make delivering large quantities of vaccine to wild and domestic animal populations impractical. A novel solution to this problem is the transformation of benign, naturally-occurring viruses into into vaccines capable of self dissemination, i.e., transmissible vaccines. A growing body of theory shows that vaccine transmission makes it possible to eliminate the risk of spillover from hard to reach and difficult to vaccinate animal populations at a fraction of the cost that would be required via traditional one vaccine-one host vaccination campaigns. Such vaccines are increasingly feasible to generate in the laboratory, but many technical challenges and unresolved questions underpin their safe and effective implementation in natural systems. This workshop will coordinate the development of transmissible vaccines by bringing together immunologists, vaccine engineers, virologists, disease ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and mathematical modelers. An important goal of the workshop will be to increase the diversity of the community working on this emerging technology, with a specific focus on increasing the representation of early career scientists, women, and scientists from lower middle-income countries where the technology may have the most immediate positive impacts on human health. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.


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