th Annual Gold Medal - Sabin

19 th Annual Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award Ceremony Presented to F. Marc LaForce, M.D. for his outstanding contributions to the development of a new vaccine for meningitis Monday, May 7, 2012 Hyatt Regency Baltimore Baltimore, Maryland

Transcript of th Annual Gold Medal - Sabin

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19th Annual Albert B. Sabin


Award Ceremony

Presented to

F. Marc LaForce, M.D.for his outstanding contributions to the development of a new vaccine for meningitis

Monday, May 7, 2012Hyatt Regency BaltimoreBaltimore, Maryland

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6:30 PM WELCOME Dr. Peter J. Hotez President, Sabin Vaccine Institute; Director, Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development; Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine REMARKS Dr. Regina Rabinovich Director, Infectious Diseases Global Health Program Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

INTRODUCTION & PRESENTATION OF THE ALBERT B. SABIN GOLD MEDAL Dr. Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele Director, WHO Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

ACCEPTANCE Dr. F. Marc LaForce Director, Meningitis Vaccine Project (Ret.)



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The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization made up of scientists, researchers and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering from

vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin works with governments, leading public and private organizations, and academic institutions to provide solutions for some of the world’s most pervasive health care challenges. Since its founding in 1993 in honor of the oral polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to control, treat and eliminate vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating the use of existing vaccines and promoting increased access to affordable medical treatments. Sabin’s three main programs – the Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership (PDP), Vaccine Advocacy and Education and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases – continue to advance Dr. Sabin’s lifelong efforts to reduce human suffering and poverty throughout the world. Sabin has received Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating for five consecutive years.


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Dr. LaForce directed the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), a Bill & Melinda

Gates Foundation-funded partnership between PATH and the World Health Organization (WHO) from 2001 to March 2012. The project succeeded in developing a new African vaccine against epidemic meningitis. More than 55 million Africans between the ages of 1 and 29 years have been vaccinated since the vaccine’s introduction in 2010. As MVP director, Dr. LaForce oversaw the successful development, licensure and widespread introduction of the first internationally licensed vaccine specifically designed for and introduced in Africa. The vaccine provides long-lasting protection against sub-Saharan Africa’s most important cause of epidemic meningitis, a disease that kills 10 percent of those sickened and leaves more than 20 percent of survivors with severe and lifelong disabilities. Responding to calls from African health officials for a long-term, affordable solution to epidemic meningitis, Dr. LaForce and his team pioneered an innovative vaccine-development model to produce a vaccine costing less than 50 cents a dose. Their collaboration with the Serum Institute of India, Ltd. and other partners enabled the team to make the vaccine at about one-tenth the US$700 million investment usually required to bring a new vaccine to market. The vaccine was introduced in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in mass vaccination campaigns in December 2010. At the close of the meningitis epidemic season in June 2011, not a single case of meningitis A had been reported among those who received the vaccine. The vaccine was introduced in Cameroon, Chad and

Photo courtesy of PATH.


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Nigeria in 2011, and it is expected to reach 320 million people in all 25 countries of Africa’s meningitis belt by 2016. Before joining PATH, Dr. LaForce held academic and administrative positions at the University of Colorado and the University of Rochester Schools of Medicine. He also served on immunization advisory committees for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and for the American College of Physicians. From 1994 to 2001, he led the Steering Committee on Epidemiology and Field Research for WHO’s vaccine cluster and from 1998 to 2001, he was president of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board. Dr. LaForce received his medical degree from Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry and completed his internal medicine and infectious diseases training on the Harvard service at Boston City Hospital. He began his public health career in 1966 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the Communicable Disease Center (now known as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). An assignment to Thailand to evaluate a malaria eradication program piqued his interest in simple interventions that could yield important public health benefits. He has published more than 200 papers and book chapters primarily in the areas of pulmonary defense mechanisms, clinical infectious diseases, epidemiology and vaccinology. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Dr. LaForce and new friends during the 2010 vaccination campaign season. Photo reprinted courtesy of PATH and Gabe Bienczycki.

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After receiving his medical degree in 1931, Dr. Sabin began research on poliomyelitis (polio), which at the time had reached epidemic proportions around the globe. At the

Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was able to prove that polio was an infection of the alimentary tract, indicating that polio might be prevented by an oral vaccine. Dr. Sabin’s early research was interrupted by World War II, and in 1941 he joined the U.S. Army Epidemiological Board’s Virus Committee and accepted assignments abroad. It was during this phase of his career that he developed vaccines for encephalitis, sand-fly fever and dengue fever. At the end of World War II, Dr. Sabin returned to Cincinnati and resumed his research. He focused on isolating a mutant form of the polio virus incapable of producing the disease and thereby safe for introduction to the human body. The avirulent virus reproduced rapidly in the intestines, displacing lethal forms of the polio virus and providing protection from the disease. The oral vaccine was first tested outside the United States from 1957 to 1959, and, ultimately, a successful Sabin vaccine was used to eliminate polio in countries throughout the world. Dr. Sabin not only dedicated his entire professional career to the elimination of human suffering though his groundbreaking medical advances, but also waged a tireless campaign against poverty and ignorance throughout his lifetime. It was in this spirit of commitment and dedication that his longtime friends and colleagues - led by Heloisa Sabin, his widow, and the late Dr. H.R. Shepherd, the Institute’s Founding Chairman - established the Sabin Vaccine Institute in 1993 following Dr. Sabin’s death. Photo courtesy of the

University of Cincinnati.


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1994: Donald A. Henderson, M.D., M.P.H.1995: Robert M. Chanock, M.D. (d.2010)1996: Joseph L. Melnick, Ph.D. (d.2001)1997: Maurice R. Hilleman, Ph.D., DSc. (d.2005)

1998: Myron M. Levine, M.D., D.T.P.H.1998: Allen C. Steere, M.D.1999: Maj. Gen. Philip K. Russell, M.D. (USA Ret.)2000: Ciro A. de Quadros, M.D., M.P.H.

2001: John B. Robbins, M.D.2002: Stanley A. Plotkin, M.D.2003: Samuel L. Katz, M.D.2004: William S. Jordan, Jr., M.D. (d.2008)

2005: Albert Z. Kapikian, M.D.2006: William H. Foege, M.D., M.P.H.2007: Hilary Koprowski, M.D.2008: Ruth S. Nussenzweig, M.D., Ph.D.

2009: Rino Rappuoli, Ph.D.2010: John D. Clemens, M.D. 2011: Douglas R. Lowy, M.D.2011: John T. Schiller, Ph.D.

1994 1995 1996 1997

1999 1998 2000

2001 2002 2003 2004

2005 2006 2007 2008

2009 2010 2011 2011

2012: F. Marc LaForce, M.D.


Awarded annually since 1994, the Gold Medal Award - the highest scientific honor bestowed by the Sabin Vaccine Institute - recognizes a researcher who has made

extraordinary contributions in the field of vaccinology or a complementary field.


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The Sabin Vaccine Institute gratefully acknowledges those who helped make the 2012 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal

Award Ceremony possible.




2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWSuite 7100Washington, DC