Hanneke Schuitemaker is the Global Head of Viral Vaccine Discovery and Translational Medicine at Johnson & Johnson‘s Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, and a Professor of Virology at the Amsterdam University Medical Center.
In her position at Janssen, she has been on the lookout for emerging epidemics and has overseen the development of a universal flu vaccine as well as vaccines against Ebola, HIV, RSV, Zika virus and now SARS-CoV2. During this time, a revolution in vaccine development has taken place. Traditionally a lengthy process that could easily take 10 years, new vaccines are now designed, produced and tested at breakneck speed, with the recent FDA and EMA approvals having come within a mere 8 months after the first steps were taken.
Although the well characterized adenovirus-based platform chosen for the SARS-CoV2 vaccine initially allowed less speedy development than possible with the new generation of RNA-vaccines, this disadvantage is now about to be offset by the fact that a single shot suffices to elicit effective immunity. With new pandemics increasingly likely, Hanneke Schuitemaker is at the basis of strategic decisions that have far reaching impact on global health and society as we know it.