Day 2 :
University of Notre Dame, USA
Keynote: Conscription of the host fibrinolytic system as a virulence determinant for Streptococcus pyogenes
Time : 09:00-09:45
Francis J Castellino is the Kleiderer-Pezold Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the WM Keck Center for Transgene Research at the University of Notre Dame, USA. He has coauthored more that 400 peer reviewed manuscripts.
The virulence determinants of Gram-positive streptococci are more complex than those of Gram-negative strains. For Gram-negative bacteria, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a primary virulence factor. In the case of the human pathogen, Gram-positive group A-streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) is one virulence factor in the development of a proteolytic surface of GAS cells and this aid in dissemination of the bacteria from epithelial cells of the skin and throat to deep tissues. For skin-tropic strains, this is accomplished by hijacking of the host fibrinolytic system by GAS. For this to occur, there must be GAS surface proteins that bind to the host proenzyme, plasminogen and then the plasminogen must be specifically activated and the proteolytic is under tight and rapid gene regulation since the proteolytic surface is only required at certain stages of the infection. This presentation will discuss these features for a virulent skin-tropic strain of GAS.
Cempra Pharmaceuticals, USA
Time : 09:45-10:15
Glenn S Tillotson has over 30 years pharmaceutical experience in pre-clinical and clinical research, commercialization, medical affairs, scientific communications including publication planning strategic drug development, life cycle management and global launch programs. He has been instrumental in the development and launch of ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, gemifloxacin, fidaxomicin and several other agents. He is a SVP of Medical Affairs where he is preparing for the launch of solithromycin for community acquired bacterial pneumonia. He has published more than 170 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is on several journal Editorial Advisory Boards including the Lancet Infectious Disease, eBioMedicine, Expert Reviews in Anti-infective Therapy and F1000.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is an escalating problem. There are significant efforts expanded in the battle to combat this problem. Recent infectious diseases have hit the media especially viral infections such as Ebola, Zika and currently Yellow Fever. The dissemination of these infections is especially worrying but we seem to have played down the bacterial diseases. However, with increasing travel and the growing crisis of refugees it is obvious that the transfer of resistant bacterial infections is highly likely or under-appreciated. Recent examples include azithromycin resistant Shigella sonnei infections; NDM-1 Klebsiella pneumoniae and other pathogens were from overseas. Additionally resistant infections may transfer within a country where there may be marked susceptibility differences. So what may be the implications of this situation? Companies both small and large are developing antibiotics to combat this issue are faced with multiple regulatory processes. These can be challenging both in terms of completion and in terms of costs. As these issues become more global, there needs to be a mechanism by which a streamlined development process applied so each country or region does not need to repeat or require their own unique evaluations to approve a new antibiotic. The clock is ticking and we are running out of options and as we travel more this can only get worse.
Medical University of Białystok, Poland
Keynote: TBE: A growing threat in Europe
Time : 10:15-10:45
Joanna Zajkowska is currently working at Medical University of Białystok, Poland and carries Clinical Research on infectious diseases, especially on tick-borne diseases and nervous system diseases. She is an expert in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health and epidemiology. She is a Member of ISW-TBE, Wien Austria (International Scientific Working group on Tick-Borne Encephalitis and ESGBOR (ESCMID-European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases). She has published more than 200 papers in reputed journals and serving as a Reviewer in many journals.
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral tick-borne infectious disease caused by Flaviviridae that occurs in endemic areas across large regions of Europe and Asia and still is a public health problem in these parts of the world. The total annual number of cases is estimated to be up to 10,000 in Russia and about 3,000 in European countries and constantly increases. TBE may take various courses: Meningitis, meningoencephalitis, meningoencephalomyelitis or eningo-encephalo-radiculitis. Severe courses of TBE infection with higher mortality and long lasting sequelae often affect the patient’s quality of life and also influence on society. Other known arthropod-borne Flaviviridae which may affect nervous system are: Yellow fever virus, Dengue virus, West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis virus. In recent decades, many researchers tried to find reasons for increasing number of human TBE cases in endemic regions even if there is a vaccination against TBE on the market. Among potential reasons for the increasing reported incidence of TBE are: Increased mobility of humans increased travelling to endemic areas, climate and socio-economic changes, variations of habitat structure and wildlife community, greater public awareness, better diagnostic methods, vaccination rates and improved reporting. The aim of this lecture is a better understanding of factors influencing on the current epidemiological situation of TBE across Europe and Russia (climatic, environmental and socio-economic changes), characterization of clinical course of the disease and comparison of all these factors in reference to other vector-borne diseases, especially caused by viruses belonging to Flaviviridae.
Dutch Armed Forces/Royal Dutch Navy, Netherlands
Keynote: Managing biothreat information under the WHO international health regulations of biosecurity
Time : 11:05-11:35
Stef Stienstra is a strategic and creative Consultant in Biomedical Science with a parallel career as a Commander of the reserve of the Royal Dutch Navy. For the Dutch Armed Forces he has responsibility for the counter measures in CBNRe threats and (Medical) consequence management both in a military and a civilian (terrorism) setting. He is a strategic functional specialist for “Health & Environment” of the 1-Civil-Military-Interaction Command (1-CMI) of the Dutch Armed Forces and for 2015 also in the NATO Response Force (NRF), which is in 2015 the responsibility of the 1-German-Netherlands-Corps (1-GNC). In his civil career he works internationally as Consultant or as Scientific Supervisory Board Member for several medical and biotech companies, merely involved in biodefense. He is also a Visiting Professor for Punjab University in Pakistan and Rhein-Waal University in Germany. He has completed his studies in Medicine and in Biochemistry at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands and has extensive practical experience in cell biology, immuno-hematology, biodefense and transfusion medicine. His natural business acumen and negotiation competence helps to initiate new successful businesses, often created out of unexpected combinations of technologies. His good understanding of abstract science combined with excellent skills in the communication of scientific matters to non-specialists, helps him with strategic consulting at top level management.
Sharing security threat information is a challenge for governments and their agencies. Especially in biotechnology and microbiology the agencies do not know how to classify or to disclose collected information on potential biothreats. There is vague border between manmade and natural biological threats. An example is the several month delay of the publication of research on the transmissibility of H5N1 avian influenza virus in the leading scientific journal Science by researchers of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The publication was delayed in 2012 by several months due to the fact that various organizations first wanted to investigate whether the details could be misused by malicious individuals. In the study the researchers show that only a small number of mutations were necessary to change the H5N1 virus so that it can spread through the respiratory system between mammals. This implies that the risk of a H5N1 pandemic cannot be ruled out. On the other hand, this information can be used to develop new therapies and/or vaccines for influenza. It gives also insight into the disease mechanism, which helps in the prevention. The same arguments are valid for therapeutic antibodies, like the antibodies which are developed to treat anthrax. They have an extreme high affinity for the lethal factors of the bacterium and stop the disease but the same antibodies could be misused to select the most pathogenic strains. Microorganisms have from nature itself the capacity to reorganize and change their pathogenicity, which could lead to a pandemic spread of a disease. But if the disease is too infectious and too deadly, like some stains of Ebola Virus, the lethality will be locally limited. But if the incubation time is longer in a certain strain of an Ebola virus, the risks on epidemics and even a pandemic is much higher. The knowledge of these natural mutation mechanisms could be misused to weaponize microorganisms. It enables the engineering of the lethality like it is done with some anthrax strains. Are these laboratory techniques considered as public science or should it be classified? Academics want to publish and to share information for the progress of science and to find useful applications. The Rotterdam scientists were really annoyed when their research was blocked for publication and feared that other groups would be first in publishing a part of their obtained experimental results. Biosafety is already common practice in microbiology but biosecurity is often still questionable. A ‘Code of Conduct’, like the Dutch Academy of Science has developed, would help; especially for the so called insider risk. Educational programs for the identification and assessment of risks and threats to security have to be developed to give scientists biothreat awareness and for government officials to rationalize the real threat, without damaging the progress of science.