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ANH INTERNATIONAL COURSE
Immune biology of pandemics and epidemics
STARTING AGAIN WITH UPDATES (MARCH 2024)
Immune Biology of Pandemics – UPDATED! facilitated by Dr Geert Vanden Bossche
Starts: Wednesday 6th March, 6 pm - 7.30pm GMT / 7 pm - 8.30 pm CET / 1 pm - 2.30pm EST
In this second running of this unique deep dive into the immune biology of epidemics and pandemics, Dr Vanden Bossche will bring new insights and updated material in order to provide comprehensive insights into the intricate interplay between pathogens and the host immune system. If you would like a comprehensive understanding how this natural interaction influences the evolutionary dynamics of viral immune evasion and the adaptive responses of the host immune system at a population level, then you can’t afford to miss this course. Even if you were one of the lucky ones to join Dr Vanden Bossche’s first course in 2023, attending again will deepen your knowledge base, give you new insights in this very complex area and allow you to interact once more with Dr Vanden Bossche and have your questions answered.
Dr Vanden Bossche's course also covers the influence of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions on the complex relationship between pathogens and the host immune system. It explains how large-scale human interventions in this delicate balance may affect the evolutionary dynamics of pandemics or multi-country epidemics. It also shows how populations develop herd immunity to fight global outbreaks, which can control the pathogen and drive it into endemicity to make them a regular part of the environment. The emphasis will be mainly placed on highly contagious pathogens that suddenly cause(d) acute epidemics or pandemics (such as, for example, coronaviruses, influenza viruses, enteroviruses, poxviruses). By gaining deeper insights into how immune responses can either control the pathogen or lead to pathogen immune escape, students will learn how a better understanding of this complex ecosystem can inform sound pandemic/epidemic management and preparedness. Additionally, they’ll understand the biological rationale underlying the differences between global pandemics like COVID-19, epidemics that spread across countries, and smaller outbreaks, and how we can best respond to them.
Instructor: Geert Vanden Bossche
This live online course of 15 weeks (about 1 hour a week) will focus on the factors that influence the dynamics of epidemics and pandemics, including, but not limited to:
- Factors determining the shape and frequency of pandemic waves
- Role of innate immunity in controlling a pandemic
- Infectiousness and virulence of acute self-limiting viral infections or acute self-limiting viral diseases
Public Health Response Factors
- Control of pandemics or epidemics
- The role of asymptomatic infection in viral transmission and control thereof
- Use of vaccines to control outbreaks of viral infections
- Public Health guidance on when to conduct mass vaccination campaigns
- Molecular mechanisms of immune pressure exerted on viral infectiousness, neutralizability or virulence
- What is herd immunity and how does a population generate herd immunity?
- The impact of mass vaccination on herd immunity
- ‘Original’ versus ‘conditional’ antigenic sin
- Antibody-Dependent Enhancement
- Differences between natural and vaccine-induced immunity
- Origin and evolutionary dynamics of natural pandemics/ epidemics
- Factors driving natural selection and immune escape; how to prevent immune escape?
- Key mechanisms of immune evasion
- Mechanisms of immune dampening and immune refocusing and their impact on viral evolutionary dynamics
- Evolutionary and devolutionary immune escape mutations
- Role of breakthrough infections on the evolutionary dynamics of a pandemic
- Immunological interference between distinct viral pandemics/ epidemics
- The impact of trained innate immunity on abrogation of viral transmission
- Pathogenic Priming
- Pandemic preparedness: Factors predisposing to new pandemics/ epidemics and how to mitigate the risk?
Recommended readings will be made available and the video link will be made available for each class.