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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Yale: Alums Play Important Roles in Development of Ebola Vaccine

When Dr. Swati Gupta, was pursuing her MPH at the Yale School of Public Health, she had no idea that one day she would be involved in the development of one of the most important vaccines of the early 21st century.

Now, as the world celebrates the success of Merck’s Ebola Zaire Vaccine known as Ervebo, Dr. Gupta is part of a select group of scientists, clinicians, administrators and other collaborators whose innovation and persistence is being lauded for making the life-saving vaccine a reality. The full European Commission granted authorization a few weeks later and the World Health Organization (WHO) awarded the vaccine critical prequalification status on Nov. 14.

Dr. Gupta was executive director of Merck’s Office of Public Health and Science during the largest Ebola outbreak in recorded history. In 2014, more than 11,000 people died in West Africa and over 28,000 were infected. She led a number of external partnerships in helping coordinate an international response to the public health crisis including the WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other U.S. government institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense.

Dr. Gupta is not the only YSPH alum associated with the recent Ebola vaccine. Mr. Anant Shah, currently serves as Merck’s Global New Product Lead for the vaccine. Mr. Shah is working with the WHO, Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), UNICEF, the U.S. government and others to design a model for how the new vaccine will be stored and distributed so that it is ready and available for those who need it.

Mr. Shah said he is both “humbled and proud” to be part of the Merck team working with national and international partners in addressing the deadly virus, which is named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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