One Health, COVID-19 and lessons from veterinary vaccination

30 September 2020

Dr Michael Francis, BioVacc Consulting Ltd, United Kingdom

In the first ever International Veterinary Vaccinology Network webinar, Dr Michael Francis from BioVacc Consulting Ltd discussed the One Health agenda and how veterinary vaccination can inform COVID-19 vaccine development. The session is chaired by the IVVN's director, Dr Timothy Connelley.


This webinar explores the link between the ‘One Health’ agenda, veterinary vaccination and COVID-19 control. It reviews the relevant observations from five existing animal health coronavirus vaccines and discuss how these may provide useful data for the development of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 infection. The use of novel vaccine ‘platform’ technologies within veterinary medicine is reviewed and examples of how a One Health approach can be applied to vaccination are presented. Finally, a brief update is provided on the current status of COVID-19 vaccine development and a summary of the lessons to be aware of from the work on existing veterinary coronavirus vaccines is discussed.

About the speaker

Dr Michael Francis has over 40 years of experience in vaccine research and development and has published more than 125 scientific papers. He obtained his PhD in viral immunology from the University of Surrey, UK, and began his scientific career at the Wellcome Foundation Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine Laboratories, where he conducted research into the immune response to FMD vaccination. He later joined Wellcome Biotechnology Ltd and investigated novel vaccines for both human and veterinary diseases, with a particular emphasis on peptide vaccines. Dr Francis then moved to Pitman-Moore and enjoyed a progressive career with Mallinckrodt Veterinary, Schering-Plough Animal Health, Intervet/Schering-Plough and MSD Animal Health. During this time he progressed to become Executive Director and Head of Research and Development within the UK, and took on responsibility for a broad range of veterinary vaccine projects against viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases, leading to the development of successful commercial vaccines for all major domesticated veterinary species (including three vaccines against animal coronaviruses). He is currently the Managing Director of a specialist vaccine consultancy, BioVacc Consulting Ltd. Michael was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Biology and awarded an Honorary Associateship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, in recognition of his contribution to the field of vaccine development and animal wellbeing. In addition, he is currently a scientific editor of the journal “Research in Veterinary Science” and a member of the Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems Independent Programme Advisory Group (ZIPAG), the UK Vaccine Network, the Veterinary Vaccinology Network Coordination Group, an Independent Member of the UK Science Partnership for Animal and Plant Health, a Trustee of the Jenner Vaccine Foundation and a Board member of the IVVN.

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