Using interferons to treat virus breakouts.

Air Date: November 16, 2022 | Length: 46:54 | Download the transcript

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Dr. Eleanor Fish

Episode Description

In this episode of Behind the Breakthrough, Dr. Eleanor Fish dives into her groundbreaking research of treating viruses by harnessing a naturally occurring antiviral protein in our body called Interferons. Dr. Fish, a Scientist Emerita at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, is a world-leading immunology researcher and passionate about the importance of Interferons in fighting pandemics and virus outbreaks such as COVID-19, SARS, and Ebola.

Dr. Eleanor Fish painting
Dr. Eleanor Fish expressing her creativity through painting and art.

About Dr. Eleanor Fish

Dr. Eleanor Fish received her BSc from the University of Manchester, UK, her MPhil from the University of London, UK and her PhD from the University of Toronto, Canada. She has been acknowledged for her scientific accomplishments with many national and international awards, including Member, Order of Canada in 2021. She has approximately 180 peer-reviewed publications in international scientific journals. Dr. Fish studies the interactions of cytokines and chemokines with their receptors in normal and diseased tissues and cells. A focus of Dr. Fish's research is the investigation of host-pathogen interactions at the cellular and molecular level, specifically in the context of viruses and interferons (IFNs). During the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto, she initiated studies to investigate the therapeutic potential of IFN in SARS patients. Encouraging results directed her group's efforts toward examining type I IFN activities against different emerging infectious diseases, including avian H5N1 and pandemic H1N1 influenza viruses. During the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa in 2013-2016, she conducted a clinical trial in Guinea, investigating the therapeutic effectiveness of IFN treatment for Ebola virus disease, with positive outcomes. Dr. Fish was a member of a WHO Working Group to evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of different antiviral interventions against the Ebola virus. In an exploratory clinical study in Wuhan, China, she evaluated the therapeutic effectiveness of IFN-a treatment for COVID-19. The positive outcomes from this study led to a randomized clinical trial in Chile, where IFN treatment reduced viral transmission in households. Dr. Fish is a member of a Canadian federal government COVID-19 Advisory Task Force.

Dr. Fish is co-founder of the not-for-profit international organization Beyond Sciences Initiative (BSI), which provides a platform for dialogue among scholars around the globe. BSI's mandate is to foster academic and personal growth while empowering young scientific leaders to make lasting and influential changes within their local and global communities.

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