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Professor Alain Townsend

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Duration: 1:46:40 | Added: 30 Mar 2023
Georgina Ferry interviews Alain Townsend, Professor of Molecular Immunology, 16 August 2022.

Topics discussed include (00:00:44) early interest in medicine and St Mary's Hospital Medical School, training with Professors Stan Peart and Hugh Dudley, work with Ita Askonas and John Skehel on flu virus at the National Institute for Medical Research, interest in immunology, PhD research on T-cells, retraining as a general physician at Oxford; (00:21:51) work in the lab on flu, particularly work with students in monoclonal antibody response to flu, collaboration with Mark Howarth on development of a flu vaccine using protein neuraminidase; (00:38:30) first awareness of COVID-19, including work with George Gao; (00:46:30) lack of funding for development of vaccine technology, work with Absolute Antibody, creation of a simple test for antibodies to COVID; (00:50:00) work with Chris Hainsworth [Centre for Process Innovation] and Ian Fotheringham [Ingenza] relating to expression of vaccine in yeast, production process, funding and work with Pamela Bjorkman; (00:59:10) funding for positions within the team, funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; (01:03:35) receptor-binding domain mutations; (01:06:30) funding agencies; (01:09:14) collaboration with Etienne Joly on inexpensive and easy antibody [finger prick] test; (01:18:20) therapeutic antibodies, work with Arthur Huang, new variants, regulatory set-up; (01:25:05) impact of biological safety restrictions on lab work, impact on new students; (01:28:41) lessons learned as a result of the pandemic; (01:31:42) personal threat of infection by COVID-19, social distancing, challenge studies, reduction of restrictions in mid 2020; (01:37:10) the concept of herd immunity; (01:38:48) new variants and reinfections, personal experience of COVID-19, absenteeism and economic impact; (01:40:29) behaviour of the population in pandemic situations; (01:41:45) public messaging and testing during the pandemic; (01:43:35) positives of working collaboratively, scientific friendships and working relationships; (01:44:48) views on Material Transfer Agreements and spin-offs; (01:46:35) retirement. Note: the following sections of audio are redacted (00:11:36) to (00:12:34); (00:15:53) to (00:16:02); (00:21:38) to (00:21:42); (00:35:52) to (00:36:32); (00:43:23) to (00:45:29) and (01:32:59) to (01:33:08).

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