In search of vaccinology’s Holy Grail: developing a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine

Vaccine Insights 2022; 1(1), 95–100

DOI: 10.18609/vac.2022.015

Published: 4 June 2022
Interview
Linfa Wang

A leading researcher in emerging infectious diseases, Linfa Wang was on a work trip to Wuhan in January 2020 and witnessed the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic firsthand. Back in his lab at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, he set to work developing a new assay that makes it easier to detect neutralizing antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 and other sarbecoviruses. Now, Wang and his team are developing a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine – with help from survivors of the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Linfa Wang is a Professor in the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School and the Executive Director of the Programme for Research in Epidemic Preparedness and Response (PREPARE), Singapore. He is one of the world’s leading experts in zoonotic diseases, bat immunology, and pathogen discovery. He is a member of multiple WHO committees on COVID-19 and his recent research contributions include developing antibody-based serological tests to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the early and successful culture of the virus. His team is currently focusing on research into the origin of SARS-CoV-2, developing assays to better assess vaccine efficacy, and a novel vaccination strategy to broaden protective immunity against future variants and emerging SARS-related coronaviruses. His work has been recognized internationally through various international awards, numerous invited speeches at major international conferences, and more than 500 scientific papers.