By Anthony Fauci
An extraordinary physician-scientist, Barney Graham has made major contributions to vaccinology for decades. He helped pioneer the field of structure-based vaccine design, which relies on understanding the mechanics of how viruses and human cells bind and interact—thus enabling transformative advances against important viral diseases, including COVID-19.
Dr. Graham’s major technological breakthrough enabled scientists to take viral proteins that provoke a potent immune response—such as the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, a structure essential for the virus to infect cells—and hold it in the exact shape the protein assumes before fusing with a human cell. The resulting form is the foundation for many successful COVID-19 vaccines used globally today. Once injected, these vaccines teach our immune systems to identify and bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein—and, by extension, better protect us against COVID-19 going forward.
A thought leader in vaccine design and pandemic preparedness, Dr. Graham has helped save millions of lives and altered the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.