FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
International Scientists Gather to Discuss Monitoring of Spreading Avian Flu in West Africa
Nigerian Health Minister to Participate in Sixth Symposium of International Consortium of Anti-Virals at Trent University May 3-6
Friday, May 2, 2008, Peterborough
Scientists, public health experts, and government officials from around the world will gather at Trent University for the International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV) from May 3-6, 2008 to strategize ways of monitoring the avian flu virus which is now spreading through West Africa.
Participating in the conference will be Dr. Hassan Muhammad Lawal, the Minister of Health for Nigeria. That country reported its first human deaths from the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus just last year. The Nigerian Ministry of Health responded rapidly to that news and together with ICAV convened the First African Symposium on Avian Influenza and Anti-Virals (the fifth ICAV international symposium) in May 2007 in Abuja, Nigeria. The closing communiqué from that symposium identified the need to establish a national viral repository and sequence databank as well as a regional viral surveillance network that monitors both humans and birds. ICAV took the first step by conducting a bio-informatics workshop for West African scientists to enable them to participate in the global effort to monitor the virus evolution in animals and humans.
"We have to act quickly if we are to contain the spread of the H5N1 virus," said Professor Oyewale Tomori, Vice Chancellor of Redeemer's University in Nigeria and keynote speaker of the upcoming ICAV symposium. "The first human deaths from H5N1 in Lagos shocked Nigerians into action. We want to work with ICAV and the international community to upgrade our surveillance networks so we can respond more rapidly to new outbreaks."
The ICAV Sixth International Symposium will host a special meeting of African delegates moderated by Dr. Peter Singer to discuss next steps in implementing the vision of the communiqués. A memorandum of understanding between ICAV, Trent University and Redeemer's University will be signed at this time.
Based at Trent University, ICAV is a not-for-profit drug development company dedicated to accelerating the discovery, development and delivery of novel anti-viral therapies for neglected and emerging viral diseases through the international collaboration of scientists, government and industry. With the support of its many partners, including the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster, ICAV bridges the gap between academic research and commercial development. It achieves this by securing resources, funding proof-of-concept experiments, providing strategic intellectual property advice and tailoring development strategies for prospective anti-viral therapies. ICAV harvests promising drug candidates for clinical development from its international network of over 200 scientists from 24 countries, leveraging resources to accelerate commercialization and adding value for future licensees.
The Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster is a regional economic development initiative focused on commercializing DNA and related life sciences innovation, built on strategic alliances between private and public sector participants.
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University is renowned for striking a unique balance between outstanding teaching and leading-edge research. The University is consistently recognized nationally for faculty who maintain a high level of innovative research activity and a deep commitment to the individual student. Distinguished by excellence in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and increasingly popular professional and graduate programs, Trent is dedicated to providing its students with an exceptional world view, producing graduates who are ready to succeed and make a difference in the world.
Media are invited to attend the Sixth Symposium of the International Consortium on Anti-Virals
When: Monday, May 5. Special press conference at 11:00 a.m.
Where: Room 117, Peter Gzowski College, Trent University
For further information, please contact:
Communications Officer (Media Specialist)
tel: (705) 748-1011, ext. 6185
fax: (705) 748-1029