remote speaker Christine Benn
Christine Stabell Benn, MD, PhD, DMSc has worked at the Bandim Health Project in Guinea-Bissau since 1993. Dr. Benn holds a position as Professor in Global Health at University of Southern Denmark.
She had an ERC Starting Grant: “CHILIC: Child health intervention interactions in low-income countries.”
Her research focuses on health interventions and their effect on overall health in real life. Based to a large extent on work done in one of the world’s poorest countries, Guinea-Bissau, she has observed that vaccines and vitamins affect the immune system in much more general ways than previously thought. These health interventions also interact, and intriguingly, these interactions are often sex-differential.
Her main contribution has been to take the observations on non-specific effects of vaccines and vitamins forward to randomised controlled trials, being the PI for many trials testing the overall health effects of vitamin A supplementation, BCG vaccine, oral polio vaccine and early measles vaccine.
She also bridged to immunology, and explored the biological mechanisms underlying the non-specific effects of both vitamin A and vaccines.
She has taken the observations back to Denmark, to test in randomised trials and observational studies whether non-specific effects of vaccines are important in high-income settings as well.
Most recently, she is testing whether non-specific effects of BCG vaccine and oral polio vaccine can provide partial protection against COVID-19.