Science and Vaccinations: An Update on Existing Vaccines and Their Limitations and Promises

february, 2021

24feb9:20 am11:00 amVirtual EventScience and Vaccinations: An Update on Existing Vaccines and Their Limitations and Promises


(Wednesday) 9:20 am - 11:00 am

Event Video

Event Details

With COVID19 pandemics surging in most parts of the world, the recent development of efficient vaccines has been a breakthrough and led to the first hope of curbing this major health crisis. Yet there are major hurdles and challenges to overcome, such as but not limited to the limitation of doses and logistics as well as the duration of protection and impact of viral variants on the efficacy of the vaccines.

Also one has to take into consideration the ongoing discussions and controversies regarding the concept of herd immunity and the possibility to get massive natural immunization through such herd immunization.

This session will update on the existing vaccines and their limitations and promises; it will address the major point of how the concepts of natural herd immunity and immunization through vaccination collide and can lead to design efficient and innovative strategies for large scale protection worldwide.


Speakers for this event

  • Arnaud Fontanet

    Arnaud Fontanet

    Arnaud Fontanet is a medical epidemiologist (MD Paris V; MPH, DrPH, Harvard School of Public Health) specialized in infectious diseases epidemiology. In 2002, he joined Institut Pasteur in Paris to launch the Emerging Diseases Epidemiology unit. There, his focus has been on viral hepatitis and emerging viruses. In 2014, he was appointed as Director of the newly created Centre for Global Health at Institut Pasteur. Arnaud Fontanet is also Professor of Public Health at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, where he is Director and co-founder of the Pasteur-Cnam School of Public Health, and was named in 2018-19 Guest Public Health Professor at the Collège de France. In March 2020, he was appointed to the Scientific Council advising the French government on the COVID-19 crisis.


  • Dr. Christian Bréchot

    Dr. Christian Bréchot

    Christian Bréchot, MD, Ph.D. joined the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine part-time as Senior Associate Dean for Research in Global Affairs, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation, and Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine. He is also executive director of the Tampa-based Romark Laboratories Institute for Medical Research. Since 2017, Dr. Bréchot has served as President of the Global Virus Network, a network of 48 research centers worldwide, headquartered in Baltimore. Before serving as president of the Pasteur Institute from 2013 to 2017, Dr. Bréchot was vice president of medical and scientific affairs at Institut-Merieux, a company that develops new approaches to fight infectious diseases and cancers. He also served as the General Director of Inserm, the French national agency for biomedical research from 2002 to 2007. As professor of hepatology and cell biology at Necker School of Medicine, Paris Descartes University, he led the clinical department of liver diseases at Necker-Enfants Maldes Hospital from 1997 to 2001. Authoring more than 400 articles in medical and scientific journals, Dr. Bréchot was ranked by the Institute for Scientific Information as the 4th most cited author on the topic of hepatitis C. He has been recognized as an inventor on 18 patents and helped create three biotechnology companies: Rarecells, ALFACT Innovation, and The Healthy Aging Company. Dr. Bréchot’s research activities have focused on viral hepatitis: hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV), particularly with regard to their role in liver cancer (Hepatocellular carcinoma: HCC) and to the molecular mechanisms that drive liver regeneration and cancer (in particular, cell cycle deregulation and the impact of oxidative stress). Additionally, Dr. Bréchot’s research interests also include microbiomes, particularly in the area of microbiomes and viral infections. In this respect, he is a co-founder of the Microbiome, Immunology and Infection Control (MIIM) in the USF Pandemic Response Research Network (PRRN). This research hub focuses on enabling and connecting an interdisciplinary network of scientists at USF and globally. The hub’s goals are to develop precision therapies and interventions that target the human microbiome to maintain and restore human health against COVID-19 and future such pandemics. Dr. Bréchot is also head of the USF Initiative on Microbiomes. He has been a member of numerous scientific committees and societies and has received prestigious awards.


  • Dr. Ottar N. Bjornstad

    Dr. Ottar N. Bjornstad

    Dr. Ottar Bjornstad researches population dynamics of epidemiological and ecological outbreaks. Focal systems include human infections like measles, whooping cough, rubella and influenza; animal infections like rabies, hantavirus and distemper; and outbreaks of various insects of biomedical and agricultural concern. He has expertise in statistical and computational approaches to the study of spatiotemporal dynamics, including the development of a suite of statistical methods for the analysis of spatial and temporal data as implemented in various R-packages. His expertise has been used in an advisory capacity for outbreak control and mitigation by the NIH Fogarty International Centre, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Bjornstad (co-)teach disease dynamics to the public as part of PSUs ‘Epidemics’ Massive Open Online Course ( The course has engaged >90,000 learners from 182 different countries since 2014. The course is among the top ranked science MOOCs on Dr. Ottar Bjornstad is on Penn States Graduate faculty in Biology, Entomology, Ecology, Statistics and MCIBS. The overall goal is to provide trainees at all levels with rigorous qualifications in computational / statistical / mathematical biology to aid their pursuit of primary research questions in the life sciences. Recently, Dr. Bjornstad has emphasized the importance of reproducible data science, so all mentees and students are exposed to and required to use one or more currently developing platforms among Rmarkdown, GitHub, Knitr and Shiny. Dr. Bjornstad currently teaches a 15-week ‘Infectious Disease Dynamics’ graduate class. The class consists of 28 2-hour computer workshops based on the ‘Epidemics: Models and Data in R’ textbook (Bjornstad 2018) as augmented by the epidmr R-package ( and a suite of ShinyApps to study mathematical models ( Dr. Bjornstad has previous (co-)taught graduate classes on Population Dynamics, Advanced Ecology and ‘Ecological Models and Data’. He has also taught numerous intensive graduate immersions including international workshops in South Africa, Brazil and Norway. During his tenure at Penn State, Dr. Bjornstad has graduated eight PhDs (7 female, 1 male), five of which are university faculty (Cornell, Ohio State, Penn State, Montana State, Western Washington) and one senior research associate (Colorado State). Dr. Bjornstad has further (co-)mentored ten post-doctoral fellows (5 female, 5 male) with current academic positions in US, Norway, Japan, India and China. Dr. Bjornstad was the founding co-Director of PSUs Center for Infectious Disease dynamics (2004-2009). He has served on the advisory board to NSF’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (2008-12) and as a permanent member of the NIH/DHS program on ‘Research and Policy in Infectious Disease Dynamics (RAPIDD)’ (2009-15), as well as numerous university-wide governing bodies including program committes for several PSUs graduate programs (including 5 years as chair of Biology admission), the Institute of Computational Science, the Task-force on Advanced Scientific Computing and the Pest Prediction and Response strategic initiative team.

  • Dr. Tom Britton

    Dr. Tom Britton

    Tom Britton is a Professor at the Department of Mathematics, Stockholm University, he achieved his PhD in 1996 from Stockholm University and conducted his Post Doctoral work in Australia, as Associate professor at Uppsala University (1997-2002). His research area is infectious disease modelling, random networks, phylogenetics and he is the author of 4 research monographs and more than 100 scientific papers in that area. He is currently the Executive editor for PLoS Comp Bio, Associate editor for Journal of Mathematical Biology and Chairman of the Cramér Society (Swedish society for Academic Statistics).

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