24th Advanced Course in Vaccinology

May 29, 2024 - Les Pensières Center for Global Health (France)


The 24th edition of the Advanced Course in Vaccinology (ADVAC), organized jointly by the Mérieux Foundation and the University of Geneva, was held at the Les Pensières Center for Global Health from May 6 through 17, 2024, training 75 new participants in the complex challenges of vaccinology.

Photo of participants at ADVAC

Participants at the 24th edition of ADVAC

The participants, from 40 different countries, were welcomed by Dr. Kamel Senouci for a training program that gave them an overview of various aspects of vaccinology – immunology, vaccine development, clinical trials, regulatory processes, issues specific to vaccines such as new vaccines, vaccination strategies and policies, program implementation, humanitarian emergencies, social, economic, political and ethical issues, finance and communications, etc.

With its 360° view of vaccinology, the ADVAC program continues to provide attendees with critical decision-making skills in vaccinology, including introducing new vaccines and managing clinical trials.

Over two weeks, more than 80 speakers shared their expertise through plenary sessions, group workshops and role plays, helping participants to expand their knowledge and facilitating their critical decision-making in the field.

The virologist and immunologist Professor Barney Graham delivered the eighth Lambert Lecture on the work to develop and implement the vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The 16th Plotkin Lecture, on the other hand, given by Dr. Kate O’Brien of the WHO, covered “Climate change and vaccination”, highlighting the challenges and opportunities for vaccinology in the context of global climate change.

The course outline is revised, discussed, and updated annually by the ADVAC scientific committee to incorporate the latest advances in vaccinology and respond to suggestions for improvements from participants and speakers. Designed to be part of a continuous improvement process, ADVAC remains a benchmark course in vaccinology, with over 250 applications received every year for only 75 places.

The course once again showed its remarkable capacity for bringing participants together to form an international network of experts, enabling attendees to establish long-term professional relationships and share experiences. The network also offers opportunities for sharing professional challenges and finding solutions together.

After the end of the course, this active group of around 1,500 alumni continues to discuss international vaccinology issues and drive progress in public health.