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

Levy S, Wisk LE, Chadi N, Lunstead J, Shrier LA, Weitzman ER. Validation of a single question for the assessment of past three-month alcohol consumption among adolescents. Drug and alcohol dependence 2021.

Wu F, Xiao A, Zhang J, Moniz K, Endo N, Armas F, Bonneau R, Brown MA, Bushman M, Chai PR, Duvallet C, Erickson TB, Foppe K, Ghaeli N, Gu X, Hanage WP, Huang KH, Lee WL, Matus M, McElroy KA, Nagler J, Rhode SF, Santillana M, Tucker JA, Wuertz S, Zhao S, Thompson J, Alm EJ. SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in wastewater foreshadow dynamics and clinical presentation of new COVID-19 cases. The Science of the total environment 2021.

Weber GM, Zhang HG, L'Yi S, Bonzel CL, Hong C, Avillach P, Gutiérrez-Sacristán A, Palmer NP, Tan AL, Wang X, Yuan W, Gehlenborg N, Alloni A, Amendola DF, Bellasi A, Bellazzi R, Beraghi M, Bucalo M, Chiovato L, Cho K, Dagliati A, Estiri H, Follett RW, García-Barrio N, Hanauer DA, Henderson DW, Ho YL, Holmes JH, Hutch MR, Kavuluru R, Kirchoff K, Klann JG, Krishnamurthy AK, Le TT, Liu M, Loh NHW, Lozano-Zahonero S, Luo Y, Maidlow S, Makoudjou A, Malovini A, Moal B, Morris M, Mowery DL, Murphy SN, Neuraz A, Ngiam KY, Okoshi MP, Omenn GS, Patel LP, Pedrera-Jiménez M, Prudente RA, Samayamuthu MJ, Sanz J, Schriver ER, Schubert P, Serrano-Balazote P, Tan BW, Tanni SE, Tibollo V, Visweswaran S, Wagholikar KB, Xia Z, Zöller D, Kohane IS, Cai T, South AM, Brat GA. International Changes in COVID-19 Clinical Trajectories Across 315 Hospitals and 6 Countries: a 4CE Consortium Study. Journal of medical Internet research 2021.

Mandl KD, Perakslis ED. HIPAA and the Leak of "Deidentified" EHR Data. Reply. The New England journal of medicine 2021.

Rees CA, Monuteaux MC, Herdell V, Fleegler EW, Bourgeois FT. Correlation Between National Institutes of Health Funding for Pediatric Research and Pediatric Disease Burden in the US. JAMA pediatrics 2021.