Biotechnology pioneer to address vaccine development challenges

June 09, 2020

UM News

William Haseltine, a former Harvard medical professor and virologist renowned for his pioneering work on cancer, HIV/AIDS, and genomics, will discuss the challenges of generating an effective COVID-19 vaccine in a webinar Wednesday, part of the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School Distinguished Leaders Lecture series. 

A biomedical scientist who has brought new drugs and vaccines to the market, Haseltine is currently the chair and president of ACCESS Health International, a nonprofit think tank, advisory group, and implementation partner with a mission to improve access to high quality and affordable health care for people everywhere, regardless of age. 

During his career, the biomedical scientist has founded more than a dozen biotechnology companies, including Human Genome Sciences, and has been interviewed and cited frequently in the media for his expertise regarding the difficulties and demands to bring an effective COVID-19 vaccine to market. 

“If we do get a vaccine soon, it is likely to be only partially effective for the young and may not be effective at all for the old,” he wrote in a recent Los Angeles Times article. “And remember, a vaccine that is to be given to hundreds of millions, or even billions, of healthy people must be demonstrably safe before it is brought to market. That is a very tall order for any medication.”

A philanthropist and author, Haseltine serves on advisory boards for numerous international entities, from the Brookings Institution to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Visit to register for the lecture on Wednesday, June 10, at 5 p.m. 

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