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QU hosts 4th ICOPHAI 2017 | Qatar University

QU hosts 4th ICOPHAI 2017

2017-11-08 00:00:00.0
QU hosts 4th ICOPHAI 2017

First-ever conference on communicable diseases in the region

Over 200 health experts and researchers in Doha, the region and beyond attended the Fourth International Congress on Pathogens at the Human-Animal Interface (ICOPHAI) 2017, the first-ever conference on communicable diseases in the region.

Themed “Environmental Challenges and Impact on Global Health”, the 3-day conference (November 7-9) was organized and sponsored by QU, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q), Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), The Ohio State University (OSU), Université de Montréal, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, The John E. Fogarty International Center (FIC), Phytobiotics, Solar Cool Technologies Inc., Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and University of Gondar.

The event brought together a large number of health, agriculture and environment scientists and policy makers from many countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Qatar, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, The Netherlands, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and the USA. They discussed the “One Health” concept and exchanged information on infectious and non-communicable disease risk factors, complex issues such as antimicrobial resistance, current technological advances in diagnosis, and vaccine development, as well as the limitations and gaps in knowledge on pathogens at the animal-human interface.

The opening ceremony was attended by QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham, QU College of Health Sciences (CHS) Dean and Biomedical Research Center (BRC) Director and ICOPHAI 2017 Co-chair Dr Asma Al-Thani, MoPH Health Protection and Communicable Diseases Manager Dr Hamad Al Romaihi, OSU College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Dean Prof Rustin Moore, and ICOPHAI 2017 Chair Prof Wondwossen Gebreyes, as well as a large number of officials from QU.

The Day One featured a keynote address by MoPH Advisor Dr Roberto Bertollini, in which he discussed the “Environmental changes and their impact on global health”, a special session on “Zika Virus, Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases” led by Texas Biomedical Research Institute President and CEO Dr Larry Schlesinger, and two plenary sessions on “Parasitic and Environmental Zoonoses” and “One health and impact on climate change”, as well as a panel discussion on “Environmental Challenges and Impact on Global Health”.

It also included many presentations on a wide range of topics such as “Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever among the One-Humped Camel (Camelus dromedaries) in Central Sudan”, “Dengue and Chikungunya in the Middle East and North Africa: A Systematic Review”, “Challenges to Control Ebola in West Africa: A Review”, “Corona viruses detected in bats of Rwanda: diversity at human-wild life interfaces and a call for one health approach”, and “Molecular characterization of Echinococcus granulosus s.l. cysts from cattle, camels, goats and pigs in Ethiopia”, among many others.

The Day Two comprised three plenary sessions titled “Innovative Capacity Building, e-Learning and Outreach approaches”, “Antimicrobial Resistance and Drug Related Issues” and “Biosecurity, Biodefense, and Disaster Response”. It also included many presentations on “Bovine Tuberculosis infection in pastoral cattle and wildlife at livestock-wildlife interface of the Greater Ruaha ecosystem, Tanzania”, “Gastro-intestinal parasites infections in mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) of Rwanda Volcanoes National Park: One Health Implications”, “In vitro antimycobacterial activity and cytotoxicity of selected medicinal plants against pathogenic and non-pathogenic mycobacterial strains”, “Diversity and antibiotic resistance profiles of Escherichia coli strains from migratory bird (Branta leucopis) and Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) reveals dissemination of multi drug resistant (MDR) E. coli to pristine arctic environment”, and many more.

The Day Three featured two plenary sessions titled “Pathogenesis, Vaccine Development and metagenomic Technologies” and “Food-borne and Water-borne Diseases”. Discussions focused on a wide range of topics such as “Point-of-Care Lionex and Lipoarabinomannan (LAM) antigen tests and rapid Tuberculosis detection in cattle using non-invasive samples”, “Characterization of diverse novel porcine astroviruses in East African smallholder piglets”, “Tumor Necrosis factor -308 gene polymorphism and risk of Plasmodium Falcifarum malaria infection among people living in Denbia wereda, Northwest Ethiopia”, “Detection and Phylogenetic Genotyping of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) Among Blood Donors in Qatar”, and more.

Also on the event’s program were poster discussions on “Food-borne and Water-borne Diseases”, “Zika Virus, Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases”, “Parasitic and Environmental Zoonoses/One health and impact on climate change”, “Innovative Capacity Building”, “Antimicrobial resistance and Drug Related Issues”, and “Biosecurity and Biodefense and Pathogenesis, Vaccine Development and metagenomic Technologies”.

In his remarks, Dr Hassan Al Derham said: “In a world with a growing population of 1.1% annually, there is a tremendous increase in environmental stress, and accordingly, it is mandatory for nations and communities to come together to address sustainability issues. In part, international scientific collaboration has become a must to find solutions for many challenges facing the humanity such as providing energy, food, and clean water for people around the globe. With this notion comes our responsibility as academics, researchers, and policy makers to meet, discuss, and promote sustained international cooperation for effectively dealing with world’s growing crises.”

He added: “In Qatar, we invest about 3.5% of nation’s GDP to support research and build a knowledge-based economy that not only benefit our nation, but also all mankind worldwide. Despite the unfortunate situations that we are facing in this region including the blockade on Qatar, which in the first place weaken the interaction between scientists, we are all here to work together and reinforce our commitment to provide a peaceful and healthy environment for many generations to come. We welcome you to this meeting and we look forward to fruitful and informative discussions over the next few days.”

Dr Asma Al-Thani gave a short brief on QU, CHS and BRC. She said: “Qatar is the first nation in the region to host such a big event on "one health". The "One Health" concept is increasingly embraced by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), as well as regional academic and policy-making bodies. This holistic view of health and capacity allows the improvement of public health and the implementation of sustainable programs for control and prevention of zoonotic diseases and environmental hazards of public health significance. We will continue to work with our national partners for the great advancement of this nation and to fulfill the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Dr Hamad Al Romaihi congratulated QU for hosting the Fourth International Congress on Pathogens at the Human-Animal Interface (ICOPHAI) 2017. He said: “Climate change, water security and nuclear weapons are key threads that require multidisciplinary solutions. The highly pathogenic flu is the most overwhelming thread in the world. This event is important because it urges each individual to take part in the preparedness and response to such kind of threads through research and the translation of knowledge into control measures. It is our responsibility to seek areas of collaboration and to support each other. We look forward to the informative, engaging and inspiring discussions that will emanate from this conference.”

Prof Rustin Moore said: “The Ohio State University recognizes the interconnectedness between animal health, human health and the environment, as well as the importance of collaborative work across many years and around the globe towards a one health approach.”

Prof Wondwossen Gebreyes pointed to the world’s growing population and the global factors that are affecting health such as urbanization, industrialization and climate change. He noted that the goal of ICOPHAI 2017 is to bring together scientists from developing and industrialized countries and to stimulate interactions using the “One Health” concept.