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Archived Public Lecture: How Vaccines Train the Immune System in Ways No One Expected

Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture presented by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Archived Public Lecture: How Vaccines Train the Immune System in Ways No One Expected

Date: Apr. 15, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 

About This Lecture

Unknown to most people, vaccines were never tested for their effects on overall health before being introduced; everybody was so certain that vaccines only affect the target infection that it did not seem necessary. Our population-based studies in one of the world’s poorest countries, Guinea-Bissau, have revealed that this assumption was too simplistic. It has become clear that vaccines do not only protect against the target infection; they also affect the susceptibility to other infections. We have called these effects the “non-specific effects” of vaccines. Immunological studies have now provided a biological mechanism by showing that vaccines modulate the innate immune system. The findings challenge our understanding of vaccines and the immune system. The implications are far-reaching: hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved every year in low-income countries and morbidity and health expenditure could be reduced significantly in high-income countries, by taking non-specific effects of vaccines into account when designing vaccination programs.

Additional Details 

This is a free event hosted by Dr. Michael Friedlander and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. For more information, please call 540-526-2059 or send an e-mail


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Steering Board Memeber, The Bandim Health Project, Guinea-Bissau