Day 1 :
University of New South Wales, Australia
Keynote: Improved molecular surveillance and new therapeutic responses to the influenza virus using mass spectrometry
Time : 10:05-10:40
Kevin Downard has obtained his Postdoctoral studies and held a subsequent academic position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after completing his PhD degree from the University of Adelaide, Australia. For the past 18 years he has held Professorial academic positions in the USA and Australia. He has over 100 publications including two books and is internationally recognized in his field.
The influenza virus is one of the deadliest pathogens known to man, responsible for the death of the equivalent of 1 in 1000 humans who have ever lived. Seasonal influenza accounts for about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness requiring hospitalization and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide each year. A worldwide surveillance network, overseen by the WHO, assesses circulating strains and makes recommendations for the annual vaccine formulation ahead of the flu season in both the northern and southern hemisphere. Yet unforeseen evolutionary events, and growing resistance to current antiviral inhibitors, can lead the population unprotected. Furthermore, limitations in current screening technologies can delay and negatively impact on the implementation of effective infection controls. New molecular based surveillance technologies employing advanced mass spectrometry and bioinformatic approaches offer advantages for the characterization of circulating strains, the study of viral evolution and the identification and development of new antiviral inhibitors, including those based on natural products. This presentation will review these approaches that have attracted interest from global surveillance laboratories and have broader application to the study of other biopathogens which threaten human health.
The Scripps Research Institute, USA
Keynote: Broad neutralization of influenza viruses and progress towards a universal vaccine and therapy
Time : 10:55 - 11:30
Ian Wilson received a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Edinburgh University, D. Phil. in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford University, and did postdoctoral research at Harvard University. Dr. Wilson has been a Professor at The Scripps Research Institute since 1982 and is Hansen Prof. of Structural Biology and Chair of the Dept. Integrative Structural and Computational Biology. His laboratory focuses on recogntion of microbial pathogens by the immune system and structure-based design of vaccines and therapeutics. Dr. Wilson is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has a D.Sc. from Oxford University, and published over 665 papers.
The major surface antigen, the hemagglutinin (HA), of influenza virus is the main target of neutralizing antibodies. However, until recently, most antibodies were thought to be strain-specific and protect only against highly related strains within the same subtype. However, in the past few years, many human antibodies have been isolated that are much broader and neutralize across subtypes and groups of influenza A and B viruses through binding to functionally conserved sites. We have determined structures of many broadly neutralizing antibodies with HAs and determined that their epitopes map to highly conserved sites on the HA fusion domain (stem) and receptor binding site (head). The identification and characterization of the epitopes and mode of binding of these antibodies have elucidated recognition motifs and conserved sites of vulnerability that provide exciting new opportunities for structure-assisted vaccine design as well as for design of therapeutics that afford greater protection against influenza viruses.
Nanorx Inc, USA
Time : 11:30-12:05
Palayakotai Raghavan is CEO and Founder of Nanorx INC. He completed Ph.D in Organic Chemistry from Oregon State University (1979) and M.S in Chemistry (1972) from I.I.T Mumbai, India. He has worked on drug discovery for over 25 years at Columbia University, Max-Planck Institute, Germany, Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) and Boehringer Ingelheim. He has over 12 patents and another 15 pending patent applications.
Metadichol (US patent 8,722,093) is a Nano emulsion of long-chain alcohols found in many foods. It is commonly called Policosanol and is present in foods such as rice, sugar cane, wheat, peanuts Metadichol acts on Nuclear Vitamin D receptors (VDR) (US patent 9,006,292) that are present in cells throughout the body to stimulate the immune system and inhibit a variety of disease processes, resulting from viral infections.We tested for antiviral activity of Metadichol® in Vero and MDCK cells infected with Influenza A, H1N1, Human Respiratory Syncytial viruse, Dengue, Chikungunya and. Ebola, Marburg. In addition, we tested the efficacy of Metadichol® in preventing cell death caused by Adenovirus, Tacaribe Mammarena virus, Rift Valley Fever virus, SARS coronavirus, Japanese Encephalitis virus, West Nile virus, and Yellow Fever virus. In the in vitro assays, Metadichol showed no cytotoxicity and strongly inhibited cell death caused by each of the viruses tested. Metadichol is a safe and effective inhibitor of enveloped viruses in humans. Since it is known to bind to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) (US patent 9,006,292), its mechanism of action likely involves the competitive displacement of virus particles from VDR’s on host cell membranes. Because it consists of natural components of common foods and has no known negative side effects, Metadichol has the potential to serve as a novel, broad-spectrum antiviral treatment for Dengue, Ebola, Zika, H1N1, SARS, Chikungunya and other enveloped viruses.