Infectious Insights Blog

Empowering Developing Countries Through Tech Transfer

Here’s a daunting question: what is your proudest work-related accomplishment? When that question was posed to me at a recent Washington Global Health Alliance dinner, several answers came to mind, but I landed on one specific example because it best shows the impact of the work we do here at IDRI and why I chose to work in the field of global health. To me, it’s difficult to overestimate the importance of building capacity for in-country vaccine development and production. Six years ago, IDRI began to transfer our adjuvant technology to Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, a leading Indian biotech company. As you may know, adjuvants are key components of today’s vaccines, boosting effectiveness by stimulating the immune system. They can also improve a vaccine’s reach through ‘dose-sparing’ – reducing the amount of vaccine needed for a dose and increasing the available doses of a vaccine supply many times over. Within about a [...]

June 10th, 2016| |

From Virtual to Face-to-Face

These days scientific collaborations can move along with phone calls and emails, but there’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned face-to-face meeting to keep things moving. The American Association of Immunologists annual meeting was in Seattle last weekend (where several IDRI scientists presented, along with former IDRI scientists who have moved into Ph.D. program across the country), presenting  the opportunity for such meetings with IDRI collaborators who were attending. Earlier in the week Henrique Couto Teixeira from Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora in Brazil stopped by to check out IDRI for the first time; we discussed potential projects across a variety of our diagnostic programs. And he dropped off a copy of his book, teaching children about the immune system. Author

May 25th, 2016| |

Biking for the Health of It

Bike Everywhere Month—the new, more ambitious Bike to Work Month—is now under way with IDRI riding along. We’ve kicked off May 2016 with a bike safety seminar and discussion of safe routes, along with a breakfast rally to get us on our bikes. On May 20, we’ll host a Bike Anywhere Day “Celebration Station,” so stop by 1616 Eastlake for some snacks and swag. Last year, IDRI riders placed 89th out of 1,048 organizations for total number of bike trips, which is quite an impressive feat given our small size and the hearty competition! We logged 600 bike trips, totaling 3,249 miles. We saved 2,859 pound of CO2 from being emitted from our cars, and burned a collective 159,204 calories (or nearly 1,129 cans of Rainier beer!). And I think this year we can do even better. While IDRI’s goal is to improve the health of the world by stopping [...]

May 11th, 2016| |

A Tale of Two Operas…and TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is often seen as a disease of the past. Before the advent of antibiotics, the treatment for TB was bed rest, fresh air and good food – but only if you were lucky enough to afford a sanatorium. Without drugs, many people died a slow and unpleasant death, suffering from night sweats, weight loss and terrible coughing fits (with blood). Nowadays, “consumption” has an air of tragic romance about it, often being associated with the slow wasting death of beautiful, young women. Perhaps because of some famous works of art depicting the suffering caused by TB, and its association with poverty. Two of my favorite operas have leading ladies who succumb to consumption. In La Boheme, the association of TB with poverty is made clear when Mimi, the seamstress, becomes fatally ill while living in poor lodgings, likely with bad nutrition and no heating. Mimi shows the classic [...]

March 22nd, 2016|

Are We There Yet? The Answer is No.

International Women’s Day is here again – March 8, 2016. It is a time to celebrate our progress and reflect on our achievements. However, it is also a time to articulate the large amount of change that is still needed to achieve equality. This year’s theme is “Pledge for Parity” and the statistics are quite sobering. According to a World Economic Forum report in 2015, “it will take until 2133 to achieve global gender parity.” This figure seems bad enough, until you realise that in 2014, they predicted in would only take until 2095 – so, a big decrease in the speed of progress. Why is this still the case? There a large number of reasons and barriers to parity. One area in which research regularly points out problems deals with our own subtle biases – sometimes held by us without realising them. A number of studies have shown that there are [...]

March 18th, 2016|
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