Dan Stinchcomb Seminar


Dr. Stinchcomb talked about various diseases and the development of effective vaccines for them. Dengue’s was developed from a pre-existent vaccine for Yellow fever, but it caused many problems since it caused secondary infections and it only protected against some strains. Trial methods were also discussed (safety, durability, etc). He discussed IDRI, the laboratory he works in, that creates and tests vaccines for many major diseases. West Nile disease was also mentioned – together with Chikungunya and Zika. For each virus, the symptoms, the distribution, the general structure and genome were examined, in connection to the vaccine development and human trial methods.

Reflection, Connections, Questions:

Diseases such as Dengue and Zika are not very well known in developed countries, but they are becoming more common because of global travel and climate change. The availability of vaccines for exotic diseases is a critical tool for the prevention of worldwide outbreaks. This lecture was very detailed and technical; even though I am taking a Virology course, I did not understand everything that was mentioned during the lecture.

This lecture connects to the Virology portion of the class, but it definitely goes much more in depth than we did. It was still very interesting to see how vaccines are created  and tested before being commercially distributed. I wonder how they make the jump from computer models and laboratory animals to human trials, and what other methods other than RNA could be used to create vaccines for these diseases.