VIROCON 2020: Evolution of Viruses and Viral Diseases
“The Microbe that failed one child in a distant continent yesterday can reach today and seed a global Pandemic tomorrow” Nobel Laureate, Dr. Joshua Lederberg
The Voice of Chandigarh News
VIROCON 2020, an International Conference on Evolution of Viruses and Viral Diseases was held recently at the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, India. The conference was attended by eminent virologists from India & abroad besides a large number of scientists, research scholars and the students. The International Conference connoted its importance due to recent pandemic of coronavirus disease COVID-19 with thousands of cases in more than 100 countries taking a heavy toll. When interacted with Virologists present during the conference majority of them expressed their views that “The rapid spread of COVID-19 outside China should be considered a cause of concern.”
Prof. P.N. Tandon Padma Vibhushan, former president, INSA, Professor of Neurosurgery, AIIMS and the Chief Guest of the conference, delivered the inaugural address. While addressing the galaxy of Virologists and the Scientists, Prof. Tandon quoted the lines from Nobel Laureate, Dr. Joshua Lederberg and stated that “The Microbe that failed one child in a distant continent yesterday can reach today and seed a global Pandemic tomorrow.” The message was clear & bold befitting in the present day scenario about the Evolution of Viruses and Viral Diseases. Dr. Tandon continued that enough warning had already been given by Rene Dubos, who said that “Human destiny is bound to remain a gamble because at some unpredictable time and in some unforeseeable manner nature will strike back” Dr. Tandon reiterated to take these words seriously and prepare adequately for such like situations in future also. The increasing prevalence of infectious diseases is directly related to poverty, the chief guest emphasized.
The others who spoke during the inauguration were Dr. Andrew Davison, Head Centre for Virus Research, University of Glasgow, Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary DBT Dr. Stuart Siddell (University of Bristol, England) and Dr. R.K. Jain (Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India) Dr. Anupam Verma the President of IVS and the conference chairman, welcomed the dignitaries and highlighted that the phenomenon of the evolution of viruses and viral diseases is coming on the front fore which required the attention of Virologist and Scientists to frame a strategy to counter the viral diseases. He pointed out that the viruses were evolving rapidly and spreading viral diseases on a bigger scale.
After the inauguration plenary lectures were held by the Virologists of National & International repute who divulged details about their expertise. Influenza Foundation Oration Award Session drew the attention of the participants. Dr. R.K. Ratho (Department of Virology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India, spoke on ‘Recent Concepts in Immunopathogenesis of respiratory viral infections with special reference to RSV and HMPV.’ Dr. Shailendra K Saxena (King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, India) presented about Molecular mechanism of differential neuroaids by HIV-B and C clades. ‘Ending Hide & Seek of Zoster’ by Mini P. Singh (Department of Virology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India) were quite informative & interesting. In all 7 sessions were held which were captivating but brainstorming as well.
On day two, the sessions started in time as prominent Virologists covered interesting topics. Dr. Indrani Karunasagar (Nitte University, Mangalore, India) delivered a plenary lecture on ‘Endogenous Viral elements in shrimp genome-implication for Health Management in Aquaculture.’
Dr. Baldev R. Gulati (National Research Centre on Equines, Hissar, India) under the category of Emerging & Re-emerging Viruses Animal Viruses gave a presentation on ‘Distribution of Zoonotic Japanese Encephalitis Virus Infection in India during 2009-2019.’
Another Session which was equally important as it reflected the in-depth research work by Dr. Iddya Karunasagar (Nitte University, Mangalore, India) who shared his thought-provoking deliberation on ‘Bacteriophage Therapy to overcome multidrug resistance bacterial infections: Success & Concerns.’ The Third day, sessions were also packed with knowledge by eminent speakers.
The cultural programme in the evening was entertaining. The performances by different artists, students and teachers were soothing which gave a respite from the hectic schedule of plenary lectures during the day-long sessions.
Prof. Anupam Verma the President IVS and Conference Chairman, Dr. Govind P. Rao, Secretary-General, who served the IVS with zest & zeal for a number of years for the cause of IVS deserve appreciations. Dr. V.K Baranwal, organizing secretary proved a boon to the IVS for meticulous planning in organizing the International conference.
During the General Body Meeting of Indian Virological Society (IVS) the new team was elected unanimously for the next term. The memories of VIROCON 2020 will be cherished by everyone for a longer time to come.