Robert Webster of St. Jude to give keynote at GTCbio's Vaccines R&D Conference

Top Quote Robert Webster of St. Jude will discuss "The Continuing Threat of H2N2, H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2 Influenza Viruses: Unmet Needs" at GTCbio's Vaccines R&D Meeting. End Quote
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (1888PressRelease) April 16, 2016 - Robert Webster, Emeritus Member of the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital will give a keynote presentation on "The Continuing Threat of H2N2, H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2 Influenza Viruses: Unmet Needs" at GTCbio's Vaccines Research & Development Conference on June 2-3, 2016 in San Diego, CA.

    Each of the influenza viruses that are a threat to human health continue to circulate in the wild aquatic bird reservoirs of the world, where they cause inapparent infections. The H2N2 influenza viruses from this reservoir have not spread to intermediate hosts. The H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2 influenza viruses have spread to the intermediate hosts of domestic poultry in Asia and cause high mortality (H5N1) or inapparent diseases (H7N9, H9N2) whereas in humans the H5N1 and H7N9 sporadically cause catastrophic infection and death. The H9N2 viruses cause inapparent disease in the intermediate host but continue to donate its internal genes to novel H5N6 and H5N8 influenza viruses that have disease potential in humans. It is noteworthy that the highly pathogenic H5N8 influenza viruses that spread to North American poultry in 2014 disappeared from wild waterfowl and domestic poultry in mid June 2015 after causing huge mortality in domestic turkeys and chickens. Continued evolution of each of these viruses and emergence of novel H5Nx subtypes necessitates continuous surveillance, updating of vaccine seed stocks and antiviral sensitivity determinations.

    The unmet needs include the delay in production of current vaccines and the limited antiviral drugs that target mainly the neuraminidase. The emerging H5N1 and H7N9 viruses are largely resistant to the adamantane drugs that target the matrix protein. The dreams of a universal vaccine and approaches to combination chemotherapy will be addressed.

    Benefits of this talk include:
    -Knowledge of emerging influenza viruses that are a threat to human and veterinary public health.
    -Is there an unknown mechanism to rid wild aquatic birds of highly pathogenic influenza viruses?
    -How close are we to a universal vaccine and combination chemotherapy for influenza?

    Robert G. Webster's interests include the emergence and control of influenza viruses, viral immunology, the structure and function of influenza virus proteins and the development of new vaccines and antivirals. Together with Graeme Laver he developed one of the first subunit vaccines for influenza that is still being produced in Australia. The major focus of his research is the importance of influenza viruses in wild aquatic birds as a major reservoir of influenza viruses and their role in the evolution of new pandemic strains for humans and lower animals. He contributed to the establishment of the Center of Excellence for Influenza Research at the University of Hong Kong and to the Center of Excellent for Influenza Research and Surveillance at St Jude Children's Research Hospital and to our understanding of the continuing evolution and control of novel influenza viruses. His curriculum vita contains over 700 original articles and reviews on influenza viruses with pandemic potential. He has trained many scientists who now contribute to our understanding of the evolution and pathogenesis of influenza and to vaccine and antiviral developments.

    The14th Vaccines Research & Development Conference brings together a mix of academic and industry authoritative experts from leading affiliations (Harvard Medical School, National Institutes of Health, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, CureVac, GSK, Sanofi Pasteur, etc.) to cover many current and relevant aspects of newly licensed vaccines, new vaccine technologies, RNA-based vaccines, and adjuvant discovery.

    This conference is also part of our larger Infectious Diseases World Summit, which consists of 4 total conferences:
    14th Vaccines Research & Development
    13th Anti-Infectives Partnering & Deal-Making
    5th Antiviral Drugs Research & Development
    2nd Bugs & Drugs: Antibacterial Drug Discovery

    For more information, please visit the website:

    635 W. Foothill Blvd
    Monrovia, CA 91016
    Email: infogtcbio ( @ ) gtcbio dot com
    Phone: (626) 256-6405
    Fax: (626) 466-4433

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