Past Event

The Great Vaccine Race: Perspectives from India and the World

February 8, 2021
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
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The race to develop and distribute the Covid-19 vaccine has raised hopes about successfully stopping the spread of the virus but it has also raised multiple concerns. Our distinguished panelists will provide a comparative perspective on the vaccines available and address the science and ethics involved as well as efforts to ensure safety for public use and equitable distribution. 


  • Wafaa El Sadr, University Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, Columbia University
  • Nischay Mishra, Assistant Professor in Epidemiology, Center for Infection and Immunity, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  • Sandra Albert, Director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Shillong

About the Speakers:

Wafaa El-Sadr

Wafaa El-Sadr is University Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Columbia University and the Director of ICAP at Columbia University, as well as the Director of the Global Health Initiative at the Mailman School of Public Health.  Founded by Dr. El-Sadr, ICAP is a global leader in HIV, other global health threats, and health systems strengthening that provides technical assistance, implementation support, and conducts research in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations in more than 21 countries. In this role, she leads the design, implementation, scale-up, and evaluation of large-scale HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and maternal-child health programs in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia that provide access to HIV services to more than 2.2 million people and collect data from more than 5,200 health facilities. Dr. El-Sadr is a prominent researcher and has led numerous epidemiological, clinical, behavioral, and implementation science research studies that have furthered the understanding of the prevention and management of HIV, TB, and non-communicable diseases. Dr. El-Sadr is a member of the NIH Fogarty International Center Advisory Board. In 2008, she was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and in 2009, she was appointed to the National Academy of Medicine. In 2013, she was appointed University Professor, Columbia's highest academic honor. She also holds the Dr. Mathilde Krim-amfAR Chair in Global Health.

Nischay Mishra

Nischay Mishra is Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Mailman School of Public Health. He is a virologist and molecular biologist with over 17 years of experience in infectious diseases.  With his work at the Center for Infection and Immunity, Professor Mishra contributed to developing sequencing platforms and also piloted the development of the first highly multiplexed serological array at Columbia University. In collaboration with NIV, PUNE & ICMR, New Delhi, he led the project to determine pathogenic burden in children suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome, Eastern Uttar Pradesh by using state-of-the-art sequencing and serological methods. During the period of Zika virus outbreak in Americas, he supervised development of a pentaplex qPCR assay for simultaneous in vitro diagnosis of Zika virus, dengue viruses, chikungunya virus, West Nile virus and human housekeeping gene. Recently, Professor Mishra developed a “Triplex SARS-CoV-2 rRT PCR assay” for in-vitro diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 RNA for molecular diagnosis of COVID-19 and obtained emergency user authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR Test). He is a key member of CII/CUIMC plasma therapy and plasma trial studies for SARS-CoV-2 in NYC and Rio de Janeiro. He has also discovered many new viruses in humans, livestock, and wild that include New Jersey Polyomavirus, Tilapia lake virus, MERS CoV bat reservoir etc.

Sandra Albert

Professor Sandra Albert is a dermatologist and public health professional, and currently the Director of the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) in Shillong, in northeast India. From clinical medicine she broadened her field of interest to public health with research interests in health systems, health policy, skin disorders, sexual and reproductive health, malaria epidemiology, health economics and indigenous knowledge. As part of the research and capacity strengthening efforts, Professor Albert has established a Center for the Study of Complex Malaria in India (CSCMI) in Shillong; a collaborative initiative funded by NIH USA. Professor Albert also leads the Regional Resource Hub for Health Technology Assessment in India (RRH-HTAIn) at the IIPH Shillong, an initiative of the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India that does cost effectiveness analysis of health technologies and or interventions relevant to the public sector.