TBVI partner Peter Andersen receives prestigious scientific prize

On 7 May Prof. Peter Lawætz Andersen of the Statens Serum Institut (SSI) in Denmark, research partner and steering committee member of TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI), will receive the prestigious Novo Nordisk prize. He receives the prize of DKK 1,500,000 (around € 200,000) for his pioneering research on the development of vaccines against tuberculosis. The prize is awarded annually by the Danish Novo Nordisk Foundation as a reward for outstanding medical research or other research efforts that could benefit medical science. The prize comprises a personal reward of DKK 500,000 and a research grant of DKK 1,000,000.

Peter Andersen, Vice President of Vaccine Research and Development within SSI, is extremely happy with this prize. “It is the acknowledgement of the important work I’m doing together with my team. It encourages the international collaboration with other scientists in the field, because you cannot do this type of work on your own. But most of all, it is a recognition that new vaccines to combat tuberculosis are urgently needed. Through this prize I hope to create more awareness about this devastating disease that kills almost 2 million people per year, and the fact that without new vaccines TB cannot be eliminated.”

Along with the financial reward, a conference will be organised on December 1 and 2 at the Novo Nordisk Foundation in Copenhagen, titled: “TB vaccines; New tools in the fight against an old disease.” Besides Peter Andersen several internationally renowned speakers will present their research in TB vaccine development.

Tuberculosis (TB) is still one of the world's biggest killing diseases. The disease causes almost 2 million deaths per year. The increased mobility of the world’s population, with more people travelling across borders, intensifies the spread of tuberculosis. If not treated, each person with active TB infects on average 10 to 15 people every year. The disease mostly affects young adults in their most productive years. TB thus undermines the capacity of countries to escape poverty and is an enormous drain on the worldwide economy. New vaccines are urgently needed to eliminate tuberculosis since the currently only available vaccine, BCG, is 90 years old and doesn’t give sufficient life-long protection.

According to the Novo Nordisk Foundation award jury Peter Andersen has since 1988 undertaken extensive and original research in the field of tuberculosis immunology. “He provided an essential understanding of the interaction between the host and tuberculosis bacterium. Through a systematic and innovative effort his work led to ground-breaking, basic discoveries, which he has effectively translated to TB vaccines and diagnostic tests. His research is internationally highly recognized.” Together with his research group, he recently developed a vaccine (H56) that protects not only against infection but also prevents tuberculosis from breaking out among people already infected.

Jelle Thole, Director of TBVI which is co-funder of Peter Andersen’s research, is very proud that one of the leading researchers within the TBVI consortium wins this prestigious prize. “This is not only a recognition of the outstanding work of Peter and his team within SSI, it is also an encouragement for the other consortium members to continue their important work in developing new TB vaccines for the world.”

Jojanneke Nieuwenhuis
(The author is an Associate Communications and Advocacy Relations, TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative - TBVI)

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TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI), India
Elites TV News, California, USA
The States Times, Jammu & Kashmir 
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