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2022 IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award Ceremony honors Dr. Tore Godal, Profs. Drew Weissman & Katalin Karikó

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) hosted the 2022 Award Ceremony of the IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award today, honoring Dr. Tore Godal, special…



The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) hosted the 2022 Award Ceremony of the IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award today, honoring Dr. Tore Godal, special advisor of global health to the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services and advisor to the Coalition for Pandemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), and Professors Drew Weissman and Katalin Karikó of the University of Pennsylvania as co-recipients. 

Credit: IVI

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) hosted the 2022 Award Ceremony of the IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award today, honoring Dr. Tore Godal, special advisor of global health to the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services and advisor to the Coalition for Pandemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), and Professors Drew Weissman and Katalin Karikó of the University of Pennsylvania as co-recipients. 


In attendance at the first award ceremony at IVI headquarters in Seoul were Dr. Tore Godal, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, IVI Director General Dr. Jerome Kim, SK bioscience CTO Hun Kim, H.E. Frode Solberg, Ambassador of Norway to the Republic of Korea, and Ambassador of Hungary to Korea. Mr. George Bickerstaff, Chair of the IVI Board of Trustees, congratulated the awardees in a video speech, while Profs. Weissman and Karikó also joined the ceremony virtually by sending pre-recorded video messages. The ceremony was followed by the Award Forum, which featured lectures from the three awardees on their work and achievements. 


“The guiding spirit of the IVI Award is to recognize pioneering efforts to advance the research, development, and delivery of vaccines for global health. We have recently witnessed the incredible power of innovation through the development of novel COVID-19 vaccines at record speed.” Mr. Ban Ki-moon said in his congratulatory speech. “I offer my highest congratulations to you all for this honor; as well as for your monumental achievements in this critical field. You are the champions of innovation in global immunization and the sciences of vaccines. You have made an oversized difference to global public health in saving and improving countless lives.”


Dr. Godal served as founding CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance from 1999-2004, leading the founding of the alliance, which enabled low-income countries to vaccinate 888 million children from 2000 to 2020. WHO and UNICEF estimate that Gavi has helped save more than 15 million lives. He is currently serving as an advisor to CEPI, which he helped create, continuing his endeavors to accelerate the development and delivery of vaccines. 


“I am truly honored and humbled to receive the first IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award,” Dr. Godal said. “IVI is one of the great innovations in global health and Dr. Park MahnHoon was an innovator who has contributed to making South Korea with SK bioscience one of the leading countries in vaccine development and manufacturing that is so much needed in this pandemic-prone world.”


Prof. Drew Weissman, a physician and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, has been cited for his contributions to RNA biology and the COVID-19 vaccines. He and his colleague Prof. Katalin Karikó jointly invented the modified mRNA technology being used in vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to prevent COVID-19.  Profs. Weissman and Karikó, a biochemist and Senior Vice President at BioNTech and an adjunct professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania, discovered a way to modify mRNA and then developed a delivery technique to package the mRNA in fat droplets (called lipid nanoparticles), which makes it possible for mRNA to trigger the body’s immune system to fight disease. This innovation made mRNA safe, effective, and practical for use, establishing a foundation for the two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that have led the world’s fight against the pandemic virus. 


“I wish to thank the organizers for awarding the prestigious award to Prof. Katalin Karikó and myself. This is the first IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award and I hope we set good examples,” Prof. Drew Weissman said. “I also hope that we can help mRNA vaccines develop more in various fields including gene therapy for cancer, other than coronavirus vaccines.” 


“I am thrilled and deeply honored to become the first recipient of the IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award. The success of the mRNA vaccine technology demonstrates the power of innovation and the importance of persistence,” Prof. Karikó said. As a scientist, I focused my entire career on developing mRNA for therapy. I am incredibly pleased that the technology that I helped make possible is today saving millions of lives and has even more applications for the future.”


“IVI is privileged to acknowledge and congratulate the three awardees who have made extraordinary contributions to global immunization and vaccine development,” said Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI and Chair of the Award Selection Committee. “Commemorating the 25th anniversary this year as the world’s only international organization devoted to the development of vaccines for global health, IVI will continue to identify and recognize vaccine pioneers and innovators to promote the science of vaccine and global health, building upon the legacy of the late Dr. Park MahnHoon in collaboration with SK bioscience.” 


SK bioscience CTO Hun Kim said, “I express my profound gratitude to those who devoted their lives to guarding global public health. As a researcher who spent more time with Dr. Park than any others, I will try to ensure his vision, passion and enthusiasm will pass on to younger colleagues to bear fruition.” 


The IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award annually honors up to two international individuals and organizations that made extraordinary contributions to the discovery, development and delivery of vaccines and advancement of global health. The award was launched to commemorate the legacy of the late Vice Chairman Dr. Park MahnHoon of SK bioscience. SK bioscience contributes funding for two 100 million Korean won (approx. $85,000 USD) annual prizes to IVI for the awards. 




About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a nonprofit inter-governmental organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). IVI has 38 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland as state funders. 

Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world’s most vulnerable people. We focus on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, group A strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, COVID-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit


About Dr. Park MahnHoon, the late former Vice Chairman of SK bioscience
Dr. Park MahnHoon (1957-2021) is a pioneer of cell culture-based vaccines in South Korea who made important contributions to vaccines for global health. Dr. Park is credited for elevating South Korea’s vaccine R&D capabilities up to global standard while leading the company’s vaccine projects, including the joint development of an innovative pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) with SANOFI-Pasteur, and the development of a novel typhoid conjugate vaccine in collaboration with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. When licensed, these vaccines are expected to make significant impact in improving the health of people around the world including in low- and middle-income countries. As a visionary of the vaccine industry, Dr. Park played a pivotal role in the development and commercialization of the world’s first cell culture-based influenza vaccine (2015), and the development of a pneumococcal vaccine (2016) and the world’s second shingles vaccine (2017). Core technologies for SK bioscience’s own COVID-19 vaccine candidate, GBP510 and CMO production of COVID-19 vaccines developed by global biopharmaceutical companies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic largely derive from the cell culture-based vaccine technology established by Dr. Park.

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Is Plan B The New Baby Formula?

After the Roe v. Wade reversal, some grocery stores are limiting the number of products one can purchase.



After the Roe v. Wade reversal, some grocery stores are limiting the number of products one can purchase.

The ripple effects of the Supreme Court's overturning Roe v. Wade are just starting to trickle through into a wide range of industries and fields.

One such ripple effect is the widespread purchasing of emergency contraception -- drugstore chain CVS  (CVS) - Get CVS Health Corporation Report recently announced that it was placing caps on the number of Plan B and Aftera products customers can buy at a time to "ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves."

The two are some of the most common brand names of the "morning after pill," which is commonly taken after an unprotected sexual encounter or failure of one's regular birth control.

The active drug in them is Levonorgestrel, which prevents ovulation or eggs from attaching to the uterus. Plan B and Aftera cost a respective $49.99 and $39.99 and are available over the counter.

"We have ample supply of Plan B and Aftera across all of our CVS Pharmacy stores and," CVS Health Spokesperson Ethan Slavin said in a statement. "To ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves, we’ve implemented a temporary purchase limit of three on these products."

This Is Very Different From Baby Formula

Most recently, CVS and other drug store chains Target  (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report and Walgreens  (WBA) - Get Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. Report placed similar limits on how many boxes of baby formula customers could buy at a time.

Back in April, out-of-stock rates for formula reached 31% nationwide and over 50% in states like Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee amid pandemic-related supply chain issues and one of the country's largest producers closing a plant due to an FDA recall.

But while shortages of baby formula can be attributed to external factors that limited the numbers of available products, morning after pill limits appear directly linked to the panic coming from the Supreme Court's decision. 

According to CVS, the limits were put in place to prevent panic-buying and profiteering rather than due to a product shortage.


The repeal of Roe v. Wade, which was put in place in 1973, gives states individual power to ban or severely restrict abortion.

Analysts expect this to happen in roughly half of all states (the divide, as with many other things, will likely take place between "red" and "blue" states) while 13 states with "trigger bans" are already enacting laws to prohibit abortion in the next 30 days.

In one abortion clinic in Texas, providers fearful of violating the law were calling to cancel appointments within hours of the Supreme Court ruling. 

As a result, many women in states most at risk of strict bans may be feeling panicked about the future.

As seen during the pandemic and the numerous shortages that came up in the aftermath, panic-buying can impact the supply chain and create very real shortages.

What Will Demand Be Like In A Post-Wade Future?

By Monday, reports started to come in of Walgreens  (WBA) - Get Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. Report and Rite Aid  (RAD) - Get Rite Aid Corporation Report enacting similar purchase limits. 

Some Plan B boxes on Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Inc. Report are also already being listed for above retail price.

The limit imposed by CVS was, as of June 28, three per customer. While the immediate rush of purchases is likely to die down after immediate news of the reversal, many health care advocates are already preparing for major upheaval in the public health care system, from states that do not ban abortions seeing large rushes of out-of-state women to larger demand for other types of contraception.

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Long COVID: female sex, older age and existing health problems increase risk – new research

A new study has analysed UK data from long-term health surveys and electronic health records to understand how common long COVID is, and who might be at…




About 2 million people in the UK currently have long COVID, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

In the UK, long COVID is defined as “signs and symptoms that continue or develop after acute COVID-19”. This definition is further split into people who have symptoms between four to 12 weeks after infection (ongoing symptomatic COVID-19) and for 12 weeks or more (post-COVID syndrome).

Symptoms can include fatigue, breathlessness, difficulty concentrating and many more – but the precise nature of the symptoms is not well understood. There are also gaps in our knowledge when it comes to the frequency of long COVID, and whether there are particular factors that put people at higher risk of developing the condition.

All of this is partly because the symptoms used to define long COVID often vary between studies, and these studies tend to be based on relatively few people. So the results may not apply to the wider population.

In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, my colleagues and I looked at data from ten UK-based long-term studies, alongside 1.1 million anonymised electronic health records from English general practices. Based on this data, we investigated whether the burden of long COVID (how common it is) differs by demographic and health characteristics, such as age, sex and existing medical conditions.

The studies were established before the pandemic, and have tracked participants over many years. From these surveys, we used data from 6,907 people who self-reported they’d had COVID-19. Comparing this with the data from the electronic health records of people diagnosed with COVID allowed us to examine the frequency of long COVID in those who have seen their GP about it and those who haven’t.

Read more: Long COVID: a public health expert’s campaign to understand the disease

We found that of the people who self-reported having COVID in the studies, the proportion who reported symptoms for longer than 12 weeks ranged between 7.8% and 17%, while 1.2% to 4.8% reported “debilitating” symptoms.

In the electronic health records, we found that only 0.4% of people with a COVID diagnosis were subsequently recorded as having long COVID. This low proportion of diagnoses by GPs may be partly because formal logging of long COVID was only introduced for doctors in November 2020.

COVID-19 National Core Study, Author provided

The proportion of people who reported symptoms for more than 12 weeks varied by age. There was also a lot of variation depending on which definition each study used to capture long COVID. But overall, we found evidence to suggest an increased risk of long COVID was associated with increasing age up to age 70.

The studies include participants across a range of ages, from an average age of 20 to 63. Using a strict definition of symptoms affecting day-to-day function, we found that the proportion of people with symptoms for 12 or more weeks generally rose with increasing age, ranging from 1.2% for 20-year-olds to 4.8% for those aged 63.

We also found that a range of other factors is associated with a heightened risk of developing long COVID. For instance, being female, poorer pre-pandemic mental health and overall health, obesity and having asthma were also identified as risk factors in both the long-term studies and electronic health records.

These findings are broadly consistent with other emerging evidence on long COVID. For example, a recent international review study concluded that women are 22% more likely than men to experience long COVID.

Read more: COVID: long-lasting symptoms rarer in children than in adults – new research

It will be important to understand why these links exist, which is beyond the scope of our research. But identifying who may be at higher risk of long COVID is important, and as we continue to learn more, this could inform public health prevention and treatment strategies.

Ellen Thompson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Spread & Containment

U.S. FDA will decide on redesigned COVID vaccines by early July

U.S. regulators plan to decide by early July on whether to change the design of COVID-19 vaccines this fall in order to combat more recent variants of…



U.S. FDA will decide on redesigned COVID vaccines by early July

By Michael Erman

“The better the match of the vaccines to the circulating strain we believe may correspond to improve vaccine effectiveness, and potentially to a better durability of protection,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at a meeting of outside advisers to the regulator.

Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels are seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The committee is scheduled to vote on a recommendation on whether to make the change later on Tuesday.

The updated shots are likely to be redesigned to fight the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, experts say. read more The exact composition of the retooled shots and whether they also will include some of the original vaccine alongside new components will be considered at the meeting.

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and Novavax Inc. (NVAX.O) are scheduled to present data at the meeting. All three companies have been testing versions of their vaccines updated to combat the BA.1 Omicron variant that was circulating and led to a massive surge in infections last winter.

Both Moderna and Pfizer with partner BioNTech (22UAy.DE) have said that their respective redesigned vaccines generate a better immune response against BA.1 than their current shots that were designed for the original virus that emerged from China.

They have said that their new vaccines also appear to work against the more recently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, even though that protection is not as strong as against BA.1.

Experts also want to know if the new shots will boost protection against severe disease and death for younger, healthier people or merely offer a few months’ additional safeguard against mild infection.

Scientists who have questioned the value of booster shots for young and healthy people have said a broad campaign is not needed with an updated shot either.

Other experts have championed any additional protection new vaccines may offer.

Reporting by Michael Erman Editing by Bill Berkrot and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: Reuters


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