SPG Vaccine Equity Series Part 2: Maria Elena Bottazzi, PhD

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SPG Vaccine Equity Series Part 2: Maria Elena Bottazzi, PhD

Vaccine Science for Equity: Intersecting Academic Creativity, Strategic Alliances and Diplomacy

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Bakar Auditorium, HD -160 (Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, UCSF Mission Bay); Livestream available upon registration 1450 3rd St San Francisco, CA 94158

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Join us on Monday October 3 @ 12pm for the second installment of the Vaccine Equity Series, hosted by the Science Policy Group at UCSF! Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi will offer insight into the process of developing Corbevax, a patent-free, low-cost Covid vaccine, conceived of to ensure equitable access in the Global South.


"Could you patent the sun?" is a three-part speaker series that will consider the global rollout of mRNA vaccines during the Covid-19 pandemic and the gross disparities in access to vaccine technology and other therapeutics that resulted between Global North and South. These cross-disciplinary conversations will explore the logistics of vaccine research, production, and distribution with attention to how legacies of global imperialism and intellectual property law have shaped who ultimately has access to lifesaving technologies.

When Jonas Salk developed one of the first polio vaccines, he affirmed it as public domain. When asked who owned the patent to the vaccine, he replied “Well the people I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”. We invoke Salk’s rhetorical question to create an opening to reconsider our current trajectory. What are next steps forward and what could a more internationalist and collaborative practice of science look like?


Maria Elena Bottazzi, PhD, is a Honduran and Italian-born naturalized American microbiologist, currently Associate Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, as well as Distinguished Professor of Biology at Baylor University, Waco, Texas. She is editor-in-chief of Springer's Current Tropical Medicine Reports. She and Peter Hotez led the team that designed the open source COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax.

SPG at UCSF is comprised of a group of passionate individuals who want to make a difference in the world, whether by communicating science to inform policy, influencing policy to enable science, or initiating advocacy within and beyond UCSF. Some topics we care about include gender equity, criminal legal system policy, vaccine equity, science education, and drug policy.

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