"Infectious disease: are we in control?" by Prof Jeffrey Almond

Past Event

27 October 2015, 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

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This lecture is hosted by the Oxford Martin School and the Oxford Martin Programme on Vaccines

In 1967, following an extended period of spectacular success and optimism in the Pharmaceuticals industry that had seen the discovery of a wide range of new antibiotics and the development of effective vaccines against many childhood infections, the United States Surgeon General Dr William H. Stewart captured the mood of the time with his now infamous words “It is time to close the book on infectious diseases, and declare the war against pestilence won”.

Unfortunately, recent years have witnessed the emergence of HIV as a worldwide pandemic, the spread of antibiotic resistance at an alarming rate particularly in hospital acquired bacterial infections, and the spread, emergence and re-emergence of diseases such as HCV, SARS, MERS, and Ebola. Pandemic influenza still tops the UK’s National Risk Register because of the social and economic disruption that could result.

In this lecture Professor Jeffrey Almond will survey current threats to the human population from existing and emerging infectious diseases and assess what new options and strategies for control are being provided by the ongoing Biotechnology revolution. We now recognise that microbes can rapidly evolve elaborate escape and decoy mechanisms against the interventions we have available. Can the innovative application of Biomedical Sciences allow us to keep the upper hand?

There will be a drinks reception after the lecture, all welcome

This event will be live streamed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O5NQ-qPEgU

About the speaker

Professor Jeffrey Almond is an Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow with the Oxford Martin Programme on Vaccines and was Former Vice President and Head of Discovery Research and External R&D at Sanofi Pasteur and Visiting Fellow at the William School of Pathology, University of Oxford.

He was lecturer at the University of Leicester from 1979-85 and Professor of Microbiology at the University of Reading 1985-99. He has published extensively, especially in the field of Virology.

His scientific contributions include the first demonstration that a single gene can determine host range – a finding highly relevant to understanding evolution of new pandemic strains; completion of the genetic map of an avian influenza virus, and the first detailed description of the proteins of Influenza B virus. He has also made major contributions to our understanding of polio virus and its vaccines.

In 1985 as a young academic Almond won the Fleming Award for outstanding contribution to microbiological research by a young microbiologist in the UK and the pace and extent of his contributions have not diminished. In his previous role he was responsible for the scientific rationale underpinning approximately 30 vaccine projects covering viruses, bacteria and eukaryotic parasites.

During the BSE crisis he served as coordinator of the BBSRC’s Research programme on the Spongiform Encephalopathies and was a member of the Government’s Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee (SEAC). He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and in 1999 was awarded the Ivanovsky Medal for “Contributions to the Development of Virology” by The Scientific Council of Virology of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences