On 5–7 February 2020, Viruses organized the third edition of its international conference in Barcelona, this year named Viruses 2020 – Novel Concepts in Virology. It was a three-day event that congregated 240 experts from 36 countries. The conference was chaired by Dr. Eric O. Freed from the NIH – Frederick, USA, and Dr. Albert Bosch from the University of Barcelona, Spain.
The event featured 60 talks and more than 140 posters that addressed different topics within virology, such as structural virology, viral pathogenesis, mechanisms of virus replication and virus evolution. The opening lecture was given by Prof. Peter Palese on the universal vaccine against influenza. His group at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City are working to develop a vaccine that offers protection from any flu virus strain. One of the topics attracted the attention of the Spanish media, see here.
The conference was characterized by great discussions derived from interesting talks from renowned speakers, including Prof. Diane Griffin, Dr. Marco Vignuzzi and Dr. Graham Hatfull. All the conference abstracts are accessible here, and the journal Viruses will be publishing papers related to the conference in the Special Issue “Novel Concepts in Virology”.
Autumn LaPointe, PhD candidate, received the best oral presentation award, elected by the scientific committee and sponsored by the journal Microorganisms, for her talk entitled “Noncapped genomic RNA are critical for Alphaviral infection and pathogenicity”. Dr. Mirko Cortese was awarded the best poster prize, sponsored by the journal Pathogens.
The event was marked, as almost every international event these days, by the coronavirus outbreak. Ten participants from China canceled their participation at the last minute. Due to the importance of this outbreak, the organizers decided to include a short session about coronoviruses on the last day, with the collaboration of Dr. Susan Weiss from the University of Pennsylvania.
Several members of the Spanish media attended the event and conducted interviews with some of the participants about coronavirus specifically, which were reported in a number of newspapers, giving greater visibility to the event. Some of the news articles are listed below:
- El Diario: Bosch ha presidido este miércoles en Barcelona la inauguración del congreso “Viruses 2020 – Novel Concepts in Virology”
- Virólogos: El alarmismo hace más grave de lo que es el coronavirus de Wuhan
- La Vanguardia:Viróloga cree que el murciélago podría ser la fuente del coronavirus de Wuhan
- Antena 3: El presidente de la Asociación Española de Virología
The organaizers are already working on the next edition and looking forward to collaborating with scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They will soon announce the details about the next Viruses conference, stay tuned!