Dispatch from Israel: COVID-19 Vaccines and the Delta Variant: What we know so far

Speaker: Ben Reis, PhD, at Boston Children's Hospital

Date: July 22, 2021 at 3:00PM - 4:00PM

The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has rapidly emerged as the dominant strain spreading in many countries worldwide. Dr. Ben Reis led a discussion reviewing the latest findings on the Delta variant, with a focus on the effectiveness of approved COVID-19 vaccines against this emerging viral strain. Dr. Reis reviewed the evidence available from scientific publications, preliminary studies and public health reports, in the context of the inherent challenges involved in real-world vaccination effectiveness studies. He discussed the lessons learned from the nation-wide mass-vaccination experience in Israel and other highly vaccinated countries such as the UK, and provided an update on how these countries are responding dynamically to the threats posed by this emerging variant.  

Dr. Ben Reis is Director of the Predictive Medicine Group in the Computational Health Informatics Program (CHIP) at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on understanding the essential patterns of human disease, and on developing novel approaches for predicting disease. He has designed predictive health monitoring systems for regional and national settings, and has advised governments worldwide on establishing biodefense and biosurveillance infrastructures to respond to a wide range of phenomena - from global pandemics to the Olympic Games. Together with collaborators in Israel, he co-authored the first large study of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study has been featured in The New York TimesBloombergThe Wallstreet JournalTime Magazine, and Fortune. He has been recognized by the White House for his work on promoting public health through technology, and by the US State Department, USAID and NASA for his work in global health innovation.


Publications

Hopper RK, Abman SH, Elia EG, Avitabile CM, Yung D, Mullen MP, Austin ED, Bates A, Handler SS, Feinstein JA, Ivy DD, Kinsella JP, Mandl KD, Raj JU, Sleeper LA, . Pulmonary Hypertension in Children with Down Syndrome: Results from the Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Network Registry. The Journal of pediatrics 2022.

Wang X, Zhang HG, Xiong X, Hong C, Weber GM, Brat GA, Bonzel CL, Luo Y, Duan R, Palmer NP, Hutch MR, Gutiérrez-Sacristán A, Bellazzi R, Chiovato L, Cho K, Dagliati A, Estiri H, García-Barrio N, Griffier R, Hanauer DA, Ho YL, Holmes JH, Keller MS, Klann MEng JG, L'Yi S, Lozano-Zahonero S, Maidlow SE, Makoudjou A, Malovini A, Moal B, Moore JH, Morris M, Mowery DL, Murphy SN, Neuraz A, Yuan Ngiam K, Omenn GS, Patel LP, Pedrera-Jiménez M, Prunotto A, Jebathilagam Samayamuthu M, Sanz Vidorreta FJ, Schriver ER, Schubert P, Serrano-Balazote P, South AM, Tan ALM, Tan BWL, Tibollo V, Tippmann P, Visweswaran S, Xia Z, Yuan W, Zöller D, Kohane IS, Avillach P, Guo Z, Cai T, . SurvMaximin: Robust federated approach to transporting survival risk prediction models. Journal of biomedical informatics 2022.

Torous J, Stern AD, Bourgeois FT. Regulatory considerations to keep pace with innovation in digital health products. NPJ digital medicine 2022.

Levy S, Wisk LE, Minegishi M, Ertman B, Lunstead J, Brogna M, Weitzman ER. Association of Screening and Brief Intervention With Substance Use in Massachusetts Middle and High Schools. JAMA network open 2022.

Nielsen M, Presti M, Sztupinszki Z, Jensen AWP, Draghi A, Chamberlain CA, Schina A, Yde CW, Wojcik J, Szallasi Z, Crowther MD, Svane IM, Donia M. Co-existing alterations of MHC class I antigen presentation and IFNγ signaling mediate acquired resistance of melanoma to post-PD-1 immunotherapy. Cancer immunology research 2022.