We are delighted to be welcoming spring. It has been a very interesting winter season for vaccines and vaccination science and a busy season for ISV. The efficacy of the GSK Shirngix (Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted) for the prevention of shingles in adults 50 years and older was reported and received approval for use by the US FDA. This vaccine showed greater than 90% efficacy in the prevention of shingles, a very painful and potentially serious disease that is particularly an issue in older adults. Shringix provides a new and exciting tool for combating this important disease. We also followed very closely the issues surrounding the recombinant Dengue Vaccine (Dengvaxia). Dengvaxia, a recombinant live vaccine that encodes the prME of all four strains of Dengue virus (D1, D2, D3, D4) and is based on an attenuated YFV backbone that expresses the 4 individual prME antigens, is among the first licensed recombinant live vaccines. Dengvaxia was developed to target a very important virus which causes dengue infection. Recent clinical data reported that Dengvaxia provides protective benefit against dengue infection in subjects who had prior infection, an important area for protection. It was interesting that the data are not as impressive for those not previously infected by dengue virus. In this naïve population, protection was less than optimal, and severe disease could occur upon dengue infection which follows vaccination. The development of effective vaccines for Dengue naïve individuals remains a priority. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invited Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) proposals for three challenge areas; i) Innovations in Immunization Data Management, Use, and Improved Process Efficiency, ii) Affordable, Accessible, and Appealing: The Next Generation of Nutrition, and iii) Tools and Technologies for Broad-Scale Disease Surveillance of Crop Plants in Low-Income Countries. These important issues and others will be discussed at the annual ISV Congress.
We are looking forward to this year’s Congress to be held in Atlanta, USA, October 28-30, 2018. Last year’s Congress that was held in Paris was among our most successful, and we are excited about the pre-interest in this year’s event. As the summer approaches, so is the deadline for abstract submission for the ISV 2018 Congress: June 22, 2018. An important feature for the ISV meeting is the support of young scientists. This year continues to build on this tradition though our sponsorship of ISV Congress Trainee Awards for graduate students and post-doctoral trainees who submit abstracts to present their science at the ISV Congress in Atlanta. Inspired by the vision of our prior President Dr. Margaret Liu, up to ten $500 awards will be offered to reimburse attendance costs based upon the evaluation of the abstracts by the scientific committee and final selection by the Congress Co-chairs and the ISV President. When trainees submit their abstract and register for the Congress via the Congress website, they will be able to indicate their interest in applying for one of these awards.