June 6, 2017 | Les Pensières Center for Global Health, Veyrier-du-Lac (France)
On May 7-19, seventy-two students from thirty-eight countries joined the Mérieux Foundation and leading experts in the field for the eighteenth edition of the Advanced Course of Vaccinology (ADVAC).
ADVAC covers all aspects of vaccination programs to facilitate decision-making at the local, national and international levels. This year, the course highlighted dengue, HPV and Zika vaccines among vaccines currently in use or in the development pipeline.
ADVAC: From case studies to a Nobel prize-winning speaker
Case studies and role-playing exercises included how to respond to vaccine detractors and ways to implement new vaccination programs in a country.
A highlight of this year’s ADVAC was the session taught by Nobel Prize winner Rolf M. Zinkernagel, on the theme “Immunology taught by viruses”. Rolf M. Zinkernagel, a professor at the University of Zurich, received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1996 (along with Peter Doherty), for the discovery of how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells.
A dynamic alumni network that meets regularly
Today, the ADVAC alumni network is made up of 1,070 people from 110 countries and is increasingly active. These former students meet regularly at international gatherings organized around prestigious scientific conferences and financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
On April 25th, sixty-one former students met up in Geneva for the WHO SAGE conference. The theme of the discussion was: "Issues related to HPV vaccine acceptance: Lessons from the Danish experience".
As in previous years, the participants in this eighteenth ADVAC session have created a LinkedIn group.
Similarly, on May 24th, forty-four former students met during the European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID) Congress in Madrid for a debate: "Are meningococcal vaccines useful during outbreaks - pros and cons".
In addition to the co-organizers, the University of Geneva and the Mérieux Foundation, ADVAC benefits from the support of many partners: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission, WHO, US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), ESPID (European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases), ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), NIAID/NIH (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health) and Fogarty International Center, as well as the NVPO (National Vaccine Program Office).