Rolf Zinkernagel - Curtin MedalShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
Rolf Zinkernagel is a treasure. A Nobel Laureate, a family man and a gardener with his delphiniums that bloomed in June in his Swiss veggie patch popping up during his lecture at the John Curtin School of Medical Research to alert and surprise his audience so too the family photos with three kids and seven grandchildren smiling in the bucolic Swiss countryside. He probably keeps chooks as well but what he has done for immunology makes him the go to scientist when the never ending arguments from a vocal minority rabbit on against vaccinations. The difference you wonder? Vaccination is injected to stimulate your immune system to recognise the disease and protect you from future infections.
Bring on Rolf I say. He believes scientists should be better at communicating to the general public about their work and starting where mankind has gained immeasurable benefit might be the way to explain the benefits of immunization, and the importance of revaccinating as the years roll by. And he’s the expert!
The lecture at the JCSMR where Zinkernagel studied for his PhD in the early seventies followed his receipt of the prestigious Curtin Medal from Director of the JCSMR and current Canberran of the Year Professor Chris Parish. Zinkernagel joked that at home in Switzerland cows are the usual recipients of awards before he answered the topic “Why don’t we have a vaccine against HIV or TB” ……yet, he added but PC is not his preferred position so he wasn’t bothered about the yet. But both are still a work in progress.
And where to from here I wondered? Research of course, education absolutely and make available and compulsory vaccinations, especially to mums to pass on at birth- that’s when their immune system provides for their baby - the best cocktail of prevention known to mankind.