The Future of Vaccines With Aaron Fisk, General Manager of Microbiologics Virology Division

May 27  

Aaron Fisk has been with Microbiologics since 2015. Prior to Microbiologics, Aaron led the Human Resources efforts at Automotive Parts Headquarters, a regional automotive parts wholesale and retail business, for over ten years. Aaron is a licensed attorney in the state of Minnesota. He received an undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from Saint Cloud State University. 

The COVID-19 vaccines were created at a record pace. What lessons were learned from the development process that will aid in future vaccine development? 

I believe there are three key takeaways from the COVID-19 vaccine development process.  

The first is around collaboration. Developing a vaccine at such a rapid pace requires pulling in expertise from key partners when and where their unique proficiencies can be leveraged. It’s critical to take advantage of the knowledge and experience qualified partners can provide, particularly within the scientific communities where areas of specialization are deeply ingrained. 

The second key takeaway is around resources. Developing the COVID-19 vaccine highlighted bottlenecks in the drug development process, as well as the fragility our supply chains. It’s critical to build additional capacity and flexibility into your processes. 

The third takeaway is around communication. With the number of partners required to successfully develop a vaccine within such a short timeline, open communication lines are critical. There will be setbacks and challenges in any vaccine development. Consistent and candid information exchanges are essential for overcoming hurdles and keeping the development on-track. 

Were there any new technologies created during the COVID-19 vaccine development?  

While they were in development before the current pandemic, the mRNA vaccine platforms have certainly taken center stage because of COVID-19. Their previous development with other respiratory viruses allowed for a fast transition to COVID-19. Different Adenovirus platforms also allowed for rapid development. 

Has the development of COVID-19 vaccines brought us any closer to developing vaccines for conditions that do not have a vaccine (such as HIV)? 

The success of the COVID-19 vaccines has brought a heightened interest around other virulent pathogens. One example is a recently completed Phase 1 trial for an HIV vaccine. With all the near-term focus around COVID-19 and its variants, we will likely see more developments down the road. 

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