… Harps on Genomic Intelligence, Vaccine Development
As part of efforts to ensure that the Africa continent braces up for the challenges posed by emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity threats, the Lagos State Government, in partnership with Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET), is set to hold the seventh Annual African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity.
The conference themed: “Universal Approach to Addressing Biosecurity Threats – Genomic Intelligence and Vaccines”, is scheduled to hold at the Civic Centre, Lagos between Wednesday 27th and Friday 29th October, 2021.
Giving details about the conference at a news briefing, State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said that the conference is seventh in the series of conferences organised by GET, in partnership with governments around West Africa and the African continent, to help develop a biosecurity road map and to increase resilience in dealing with pathogens of high consequence.
He emphasised the need to continually focus on the key importance of the African response in combating Emerging Infectious Diseases while stating that the need forvarious treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats informed the need for the Conference.
“Lagos has teamed up once again this year with GET to organise the seventh African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity. We have a very important thematic initiative this year to address the universal approach to biosecurity threats using genomic intelligence and vaccine”, he said.
The Commissioner explained that genomic intelligence is the ability to sequence a pathogen that is causing an outbreak, adding that COVID-19 is the focus of attention for the conference.
Abayomi maintained that genomic intelligence should be vigorous, with significant measures taken to mitigate the potency of current and future epidemics as well as keeping up with effective vaccine production.
He explained that the conference’s thematic areas cover Vaccine Strategy, Genome Research, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Biosecurity and Bio-threat, Biobanking Infrastructure, Climate change and Cultural Anthropological Social and Economic Impact of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
While emphasising the key importance of the African response in combating Emerging Infectious Diseases, Abayomi advocated various treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats.
He stated that Lagos is prepared to welcome participants, policymakers, researchers, scientists and other interested persons to the conference, adding that the concept of One Health is necessary for ensuring biosecurity and all-around health.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief Operating Officer of GET Consortium, Dr. Ayodotun Bobadoye, explained that participants at the conference, which will hold both virtually and physically, will include policymakers, scientists, researchers, healthcare professionals, experts in infectious disease management, professionals from one healthfields, development partners, community and opinion leaders amongst others from within and outside the continent.
He urged interested members of the public to visit the GET website or https://www.getafrica.org/
Bobadoye said experts who would speak at the conference include the lead Speaker, Sir Hillary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, University of the West Indies; Prof. Charles Wiysonge, Epidemiologist and Vaccinologist, South African Cochrane Centre, South Africa; Prof. Christian Happi, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genomics, Redeemers’ University, Ede, Nigeria; Dr. Vallierie Oriol Matthieu, Global Medical Affairs Lead, Vaccines Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, Netherlands and Dr. Sam Ujewe, Senior Research Ethics Advisor, Canadian Institutes of HealthResearch.
Others according to him are Prof. Mayowa Owolabi, Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, University of Ibadan; Dr. M. T. Mayrthofer, Head of ELSI Services & Research BBMRI-ERIC, Austria; Pasquale De Blaiso, Managing Director, Integrated Systems Engineering SRL (ISENET), Milan, Italy; Prof. Alan Christoffels, Director of the South African National Bioinformatics Institute; Prof. Abiodun Denoloye, Professor of Applied Entomology, Lagos State University and Dr. Tom Rausch, Communication Expert, Ministere de la Sainte Luxembourg University.
He envisaged that resolutions at the conference will help chart a positive course for strategic response against Biosecurity threats in Africa and by extension the world.