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The science of COVID: learnings from the pandemic and future preparedness

In early 2020, the Royal Society convened three initiatives in response to the pandemic – DELVE, RAMP and SET-C – to ensure that good advice was rapidly available to government advisors, including SAGE. This work was supported by funding from the Leverhulme Trust.

On 30–31 March 2022, the Royal Society will be hosting a free hybrid conference ‘The Science of COVID’, exploring vaccine science, diagnostics, treatment of acute and long COVID infections, and looking at how advances in the life sciences can improve future pandemic preparedness.

Speakers across the two days include leading figures in the UK’s pandemic response, such as Sir Patrick Vallance*, Dame Kate Bingham and Professor Sir Chris Whitty, as well as international experts and speakers from across academia, industry and public policy. 

Speakers include:

  • Keynotes from Sir John Bell, an Oxford geneticist on the Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, providing an overview of the science of Covid; and Professor David Nabarro*, Special Envoy on Covid-19 for the WHO, speaking about patterns of disease and why different waves appeared at different times across the world.
  • Professor Özlem Türeci*, co-founder and chief medical officer of BioNTech, speaking about the history and development of mRNA vaccines.
  • Dr Tonya Villafana*, Vice President and Global Franchise Head of Vaccine and Immune Therapies at AstraZeneca, discussing the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Dr Jay Grobler, Executive Director of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Merck, speaking about the development of antiviral drugs and how they could replace the need for vaccines.

Additional sessions will look at the pathogenesis of acute and Long COVID; hear from individuals suffering from ongoing effects; highlight the role of apprentices in life sciences and manufacturing sectors during the pandemic; and consider lessons for future investment in the life sciences. 
This event will be livestreamed online; book the event to receive updates.

* Speakers whose names are marked with an asterisk will be presenting virtually

This event is part of the Royal Society's ‘Transforming our Future’ series of events supported by AstraZeneca, which address the scientific challenges of the next decade.

Throughout the pandemic, the Royal Society and their community of scientists and Fellows delivered timely and rapid evidence to inform policy decisions. This work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust.

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