In five sessions over two days, experts will highlight the role of nuclear science and global efforts in detecting zoonotic diseases.
Bubonic plague, avian flu, MERS, Ebola, Covid-19…all these illnesses have something in common – they were caused by a virus transmitted from animals to humans and which paralyzed the world as we have seen.
To help detect, identify, and manage these so-called zoonotic diseases with the help of nuclear science, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is organizing a Scientific Forum with decision makers and leading experts in virology, immunology, veterinary medicine, and radiology from 21 to 22 September.
“The devastating impact of Covid-19, as well as past pandemics and epidemics, compels us to make a concerted effort to address the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases. These count for an estimated 60 to 70% of known human infectious illnesses and claim 2.2 million lives annually,” said the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi.
“Science is key – and nuclear and related techniques are part of the solution. It is important to work together; facilitate research, early detection and monitoring; and prepare for a timely response,” continued Grossi, who will open the Forum together with QU Dongyu, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Monique Eloit, Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Registered participants will also be able to hear remarks from Jane Goodall, the United Nations Messenger of Peace and the world’s foremost ethologist and conservationist known for her long-term study into the lives of wild chimpanzees.
She will be accompanied by Christian Happi, a professor of molecular biology and genomics and the director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in Nigeria, who is known for his contribution in sequencing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
In five sessions over two days, experts will highlight the role of nuclear science and global efforts in detecting zoonotic diseases and the IAEA’s support to its Member States in strengthening their preparedness capabilities to help control outbreaks.
They will also discuss the impact and future plans of the IAEA’s Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) – an initiative building on decades of the IAEA assistance in monitoring, surveillance, early detection, and control of animal and zoonotic diseases such as avian flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola, and recently during the Covid-19 pandemic. ZODIAC helps national laboratories expand the technical, scientific, and laboratory capacity to quickly deliver equipment and know-how to countries.
The Forum will be held as a hybrid meeting with a possibility of online connection. Anyone interested can register here and attend online on 21 and 22 September.
Registered participants will also have an option of submitting questions to the leading experts. Official participants from Member States, UN Specialized Agencies, IGOs and NGOs, attending in person, can register using the InTouch+ platform.
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