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Bird Flu is Just the Beginning

ICAV Symposium held at Trent University

Keynote Speaker at the ICAV Conference, Albert OsterhausExperts agree that it is not a question of if a pandemic will strike, only when and where it will first emerge. The ensuing devastation – both in human tragedy and economic damage – will impact every corner of the world.

The Canadian-led International Consortium on Anti-Virals, affiliated with Peterborough's Trent University, is holding a public symposium and scientific workshop September 23-25, 2005, stressing the urgent need and will for a global solution to emerging pandemic disease. Over 130 top scientists, researchers and medical experts from around the world will be present this weekend.

Founded in 2004 on the heels of the SARS crisis by a group of Canadian scientists from The Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence (PENCE) including Drs. Jeremy Carver and Michel Chrétien, ICAV is comprised of experts and institutions from 15 countries. These include the Pasteur Institute (Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong); Glycobiology Institute (Oxford University, Oxford); Médecins sans Frontières (Paris); Taiwan Institute of Biochemistry; Pharmaciens sans Frontières (Montreal),Scripps Institute for Medical Research (San Diego); and the Glycomics Institute, Griffiths University (Australia).

World-renowned virologist and influenza expert, Dr. Albert Osterhaus, known in scientific circles as the 'Virus Hunter', tops an impressive list of speakers at ICAV's Third International Public Symposium and Scientific Workshop – 'Combating Global Pandemics' – September 23 - 25th Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario.

Osterhaus is a powerful voice in viral pandemic planning. A trained veterinarian, who earned his PhD in virology at Holland's Utrecht University, Osterhaus has played a role in the discovery of the SARS Corona virus, hMPV virus, and avian influenza virus or H5N1 among others. He was responsible for alerting the WHO regarding H5N1, resulting in the culling of 1.2 million chickens in Hong Kong. He continues to be an advisor to the WHO, as well as to other agencies and governments around the world.

Also speaking at the Public Symposium, is Canada's own expert, Dr. Frank Plummer – Director General of the Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control in Ottawa, Scientific Director General of National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, and Senior Scientific Advisor of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Others on the list include Daniel Sharp, Pandemic Preparedness Project, The Royal Institution World Science Assembly, USA; Daniel Berman, Access to Medicines Initiative, Medécins sans Frontières, France; Dr. Frank Liu, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China; and Dr. Michel Chretien, ICAV and Ottawa Health Research Institute, Canada.

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of State, Public Health, will address the closing dinner of The International Consortium on Anti-Virals' (ICAV) Third International Symposium. The Symposium and Workshop, entitled  ‘Combating Global Pandemics', being held at Trent University September 23-25, stresses the urgent need and will for a global solution to emerging pandemic disease.

ICAV's 3-day event consists of a Public Symposium, Friday September 23rd, and a 2-day Scientific Workshop for ICAV participants. It has drawn over 130 scientists, medical researchers, experts and government representatives from around the world. Two previous Symposiums and Workshops were held in Paris, France, co-hosted by the French Government and The Institut Pasteur; and in Toronto, Ontario, hosted by The Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence (PENCE). ICAV press conference

ICAV was founded in 2004 and is affiliated with Trent University. To date, ICAV draws expertise from 15 countries. The ICAV platform is to develop new, ‘enhanced-spectrum' anti-virals to combat existing and emerging serious viral disease such as HIV/AIDS and Pandemic Influenza. Targeting the virus/host interaction, anti-virals are used to treat infected individuals and their contacts, in contrast to vaccines, which are used in advance of infection. Anti-virals increase the ability to protect against constantly mutating viruses and are seen as an essential part of a comprehensive pandemic strategy.

Photo 1: Dr. Albert Osterhaus, from the Department of Virology of Erasmus University in the Netherlands was the keynote speaker at the ICAV Public Symposium.

Photo 2: Dr. Albert Osterhaus, Daniel A. Sharp of the Royal Institution World Science Assembly, Michel Chretien of the Ottawa Health Research Institute and Dr. Jeremy Carver, CEO of ICAV, hosted a press conference at the ICAV Public Symposium.

Posted September 23, 2005


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Last Updated October 12, 2005