Virginia Tech™home

Virtual 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

How Vaccines Train the Immune System in Ways No One Expected

Date: Apr. 15, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 
Virtual Access:
This public lecture will be offered virtually via Zoom. 

This presentation will be archived on this page after the lecture.

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


You May Also Be Interested In...

Dr. Christine Stabell Benn

Christine Stabell Benn, M.D., Ph.D., D.M.Sc.

Professor, Centre for Global Health; Chair, Danish Institute for Advanced Study, University of Southern Denmark

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