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International Conference on Biosafety and Biorisks

BALTIMORE, MD -- February 16, 2005 -- The International Conference on Biosafety and Biorisks will be held in Lyon, France, on March 2 and 3, 2005. The conference is organized by the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response Office in Lyon, France. The Nuclear Threat Initiative is funding the event.

More than 150 scientists, health leaders, and practitioners from 20 countries will discuss the biosafety and biosecurity challenges presented by SARS, influenza, and other major epidemic threats, as well as the efforts needed to improve international cooperation before and during epidemics. This multidisciplinary conference may be the first of its kind to address key vulnerabilities in epidemic response, as well as the safety and biosecurity considerations involved in pathogen research. Experts will address current problems such as the laboratory-acquired cases of tularemia in Boston; the generation of a humanized avian flu strain in the laboratory to assess the natural threat; and the lack of therapies for SARS, should it come back. Participants will discuss how to plan for the next outbreak, so that the public health response can be fast, accurate, and safe.

D.A. Henderson, founding director of the Center for Biosecurity, and director of the smallpox global eradication campaign from 1966-1977, will give the keynote address. Other speakers include Ronald K. Noble , the Secretary General of Interpol; David Byrne, former European Commissioner and Special Envoy to WHO; Robert Webster, an influenza expert from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; and public health leaders from Promed-MAIL, the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), WHO, and other centers around the world. A complete list of attendees and speakers can be found here.

Seating for the conference is limited, so reporters who wish to attend should register by contacting Dr. Gigi Kwik Gronvall at 443-573-3308 or ggronvall@upmc-biosecurity.org.

The conference will be held in Lyon on March 2-3. The 1st Interpol Global Conference to strengthen law enforcement preparedness and develop effective police training will also be held in Lyon, on March 1-2.

 

 

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