Infectious disease research continues to be an area of prominence in addressing public health care concerns. More than 1,400 species of human pathogens are reported in the literature, and of those 58% are known to be zoonotic with 13% regarded as emerging or reemerging. On average, 5.3 viruses have emerged per year from 1940 to 2004, of which 60% to 70% are human pathogens.
In the last 3 decades, key emerging pathogens including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), DENV, Babesia, Zika and Ebola virus (EBOV) have compromised or threatened public safety.
These facts demonstrate the importance of a continued focus on methods of early identification, detection and development of countermeasures to address infectious disease threats in both animal and human populations. The purpose of this symposium is to bring together academic research groups, industry specialists and developers and government agencies to discuss the challenges and opportunities in infectious disease research programs. Topics ranging from efforts to increase our basic understanding of disease pathogenesis to discussion of novel methods for production of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic agents will be reviewed by innovators in the field.
The intent of this program is to stimulate dialogue and discussion, foster collaborations and concerted approaches in developing innovative programs aimed at converting the challenges we are facing in infectious disease programs today into opportunities that advance and protect public health interests.
We have invited keynote speakers and external participants who will discuss ongoing efforts in the field of infectious disease research from the perspective of academia, industry and government sponsors. The symposium will feature a keynote from Michael G. Kurilla, MD, PhD, Director, Office of BioDefense, Research Resources, and Translational Research Associate Director for BioDefense Product Development DMID, NIAID, NIH, and DHHS. He is well known for his support and sponsorship of the national biocontainment lab program aimed at fostering US capabilities in infectious disease research and development.