Campus News

Center for Vaccines and Immunology director talks treatments for future pandemics

Ted Ross, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and director of UGA’s Center for Vaccines and Immunology. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Ted Ross, director of the Center for Vaccines and Immunology at the University of Georgia, was recently quoted in a USA Today article about creating vaccines for multiple variants and mutations.

Given some of the COVD-19 variants, some companies are developing vaccines that can address a few variants. Novavax, among other companies, aims to target multiple SARS-CoV-2 mutations, similar to how its influenza vaccine combats multiple strains of flu.

Still, to neutralize something that doesn’t yet exist “is a high bar,” Ross said.

“But that’s what we’re all shooting for,” he said.

Ross said coronaviruses are quite versatile and can range from the common cold to SARS. This can make developing a single vaccine against all of them difficult.

Ross and his research team have been trying to develop a comprehensive flu vaccine for decades and has turned its attention to SARS-CoV-2. His main worry is that corporate and public interest will diminish as soon as COVID-19 no longer grabs daily headlines.

“I’m concerned that corona could go the same way once we get back to ‘normal life,’” Ross said. “It will take dedication by funding agencies to continue to fund it the way it should be done.”