COVID-19 and immune protection – should we aim for elimination?
Part of regular seminar series of interest to mathematical and statistical modellers, and infectious disease epidemiologists.
In this joint semniar, the speakers will address COVID-19 immune protection and strategy from two different angles.
First, Dr Michael Baker, will provide insights as to why ‘elimination’ should be the default response for emerging pandemics of sufficient severity where this goal is considered feasible.
The discussion will draw on the experience of New Zealand and other jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region which used an elimination strategy, rather than suppression or mitigation, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will discuss the benefits and costs of this strategy versus the alternatives and possible implementation approaches.
Dr Deborah Cromer will then discuss work that led to some of the first evidence that neutralising antibodies are correlated with protection from symptomatic COVID-19. Since this early finding, her research team has continued to show that this relationship holds for new variants, over time, for bivalent vaccines and for severe disease. Recently the team have also shown the relationship to hold for passively administered antibodies. She will give an overview of this work and discuss how it has been made possible by the aggregation and analysis of data from many different sources.
Dr Michael Baker, Professor at the University of Otago
Dr Michael Baker is a public health physician and Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington, NZ. He is a member of the NZ Government’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Group. Michael was a leading advocate for the elimination strategy in NZ. He is an active researcher on the pandemic and principal investigator for the Covid-19 Research Collaborative (Co-Search). He is also Director of the newly launched Public Health Communication Centre based in Wellington NZ.
Deborah Cromer, Associate Professor, University of New South Wales
Associate Professor Deborah Cromer leads the Infection Epidemiology and Policy Analytics Group which is part of the Infection Analytics Program at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales. She has made significant contributions to understanding immune correlates of infection for COVID-19, and her work has influenced vaccination policy internationally. She has also assisted with public understanding of immunity and vaccination through frequent media contributions and appearances. She holds an NHMRC Investigator Fellowship.