Maori in the sustainable search for a Covid vaccine

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Pierre Veschaffelt

Dr Theresa Pankhurst: Maori in the sustainable search for a Covid vaccine

The first recipient of the Te Urungi Fellowship for Maori Scholars at the Malaghan Institute is excited to be working on what she calls the Covid booster to beat all boosters.

Theresa Pankhurst of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou worked with the institute’s internationally renowned immune system research team for a year before leaving for the University of Cambridge in the UK.

She is conducting preclinical tests on a booster vaccine that would work for all variants of the Covid-19 virus.

“So this is what we’re calling a type of broadly neutralizing or cross-neutralizing vaccine that can attack Delta, Omicron, all these different variants and also a vaccine that will provide that broadly neutralizing protection for a long time, so five to 10 years and more,” Dr. Pankhurst says.

She is also talking to Maori scholars and communities about what she might try to learn at Cambridge that she could take back to New Zealand for the benefit of Maori.

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