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Thomas Baker Oration 2023

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Event description

Thomas Baker Oration - 19 April 2023 

Speaker Professor Sharon Lewin AO

Topic ‘From HIV to COVID and Beyond: What's Needed for the Future’

Time 12.30 for 12.50-2.00pm

Venue Level 1 Dining Rooms Sofitel Hotel on Collins

Price $55 (2course lunch @ Sofitel)

The Oration looks to commemorate Thomas Baker, Philanthropist and our 9th President by showcasing Australians who have demonstrated leadership and innovation in the fields of medicine/science/technology/industry and philanthropy. His legacy as an entrepreneurial industrialist with a concern for humanity has been emulated through many distinguished Australians.

Sharon Lewin is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. She is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist whose research focuses on HIV infection.  She is President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and co-chairs the IAS Global Advisory board for the Towards an HIV Cure initiative.  She also leads the Australian Partnership for Preparedness for Infectious Diseases Emergencies (APPRISE), an NHMRC funded Centre for Research Excellence. Scientists from the Doherty Institute were the first to isolate and share SARS CoV2 outside of China in January 2020 and have played major roles in all aspects of the COVID-19 response.

Until 2020, HIV was considered the most significant pandemic of the modern era. Infecting over 70 million people and resulting in 33 million deaths.

Looking to the future, tackling pandemics needs science and innovation but also community engagement and evidence-based political leadership.” 

In contrast to HIV, COVID-19 is a short lived illness but with the potential for long lasting medical complications. Given the global scale of disruption and health impacts from COVID-19, unimaginable resources were mobilized resulting in several highly effective vaccines within 12 months. Both viruses have shone a light on equity as we have seen vulnerable groups disproportionately infected and affected by these two viruses.

Hopefully, the silver lining in the COVID-19 response will be in galvanising transformative advances to other global health challenges such as HIV.

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