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Cafe Scientifique

26 Jul 2013 - 13:45

RCIPS launched the first of a series of Café Scientifique events in the Salon of the Irma Stern Museum on 16th July 2013 at cocktail hour. The aim of the series is to showcase the major inventions in the University's portfolio and highlight the resulting commercial opportunities to an audience comprising the general public along with participants from the commercial world, within an informal setting conducive to discussion and debate. Professor Ed Rybicki of the Dept of Molecular and Cellular Biology presented a talk entitled Vaccine Rapid Response: Is South Africa Ready? The session looked at the complex array of issues entailed. If you would like to attend future events, please email Nandipa Makatesi.

Professor Ed Rybicki of the Dept of Molecular and Cellular Biology presented a talk entitled Vaccine Rapid Response: Is South Africa Ready? The session looked at the complex array of issues entailed. These included problems such as how the nation would respond to an influenza pandemic, how to manage a possible spread of the new Middle East coronavirus to our country and how to make enough emergency response vaccines to protect all South Africans. Prof Rybicki described his work on novel virus vaccines for humans and animals, made in a variety of expression systems but mainly in plants. He is South Africa's most prominent molecular biotechnology patent holder. He stressed that whilst South Africa already has the relevant plant expression vaccine technologies capable of solving these problems, there is an urgent need for the funding that would be required to move these technologies out from the lab bench and onto the production line. In conclusion, he highlighted the growing gap between first world benchmarks and South African capabilities in this arena and called for a strengthening of resolve, on the part of both government and the private sector, in order to make a national, home-grown solution a reality.

Café Scientifique events are made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Technology Innovation Agency.