Join this free, timely webinar organised by ISAC's Zoonoses Working Group.
The recent global expansion of a novel avian influenza H5N1 strain is characterised by enhanced avian species adaptations, leading to mass mortality events, even threatening extinction of certain species. The strain has also been adapting to mammals with similar mass mortality events for certain species, and furthermore has been expanding to novel territories, particularly the Americas. Its mammal adaptation raises concerns for its potential to adapt to humans, facilitating human to human transmission and a pandemic. The evolutionary steps needed though are multiple. Yet, a H5N1 pandemic is a plausible future scenario, one that needs approaches and preparations specific for H5N1.
In the webinar, you will hear from global experts in the field who will cover the following topics:
- H5N1 and animal health: expansion and impacts on wildlife conservation.
- H5N1 in mammals: what evidence do we see for ongoing human adaptation.
- Public health preparedness for a potential H5N1 pandemic.
Dr Isabella Monne is a veterinarian and currently Head of the Viral Genomics and Transcriptomics Laboratory at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) which hosts the EU/FAO/WOAH Reference Laboratory (RL) for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease. Since 2016, she has been WOAH expert for the WOAH RL for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease at the IZSVe. Her research focuses on the use of sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools to investigate the evolution of RNA viruses, in particular the ones affecting avian species.
Dr Thomas Peacock is a fellow at The Pirbright Institute and an honorary lecturer at Imperial College London, working on interspecies transmission and adaptation of influenza viruses.
Thomas studied for his PhD at The Pirbright Institute working on receptor binding and antigenicity of H9N2 avian influenza viruses. This was followed by a short postdoc at UCL researching innate immunity and HIV.
Thomas then did a second postdoc at Imperial College London, initially working on the role of influenza host factors on inter-species transmission, and then later working on determinants of entry and transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2.
Dr Charles (Todd) Davis is acting branch chief of the Virology, Surveillance and Diagnosis Branch / Influenza Division / CDC and leads the Influenza Division’s efforts to improve global influenza virus control, prevention, pandemic preparedness and response. VSDB conducts comprehensive virus surveillance to analyze antigenic, phenotypic and genetic characteristics of viruses circulating in humans and animals. The data is used to guide influenza vaccine strain selection, assess virus sensitivity to therapeutics, develop or assess diagnostic tests and generate candidate vaccine viruses for both seasonal and pre-pandemic influenza.
Dr Georgios Pappas is a physician, living and practicing in Ioannina. His research work in infectious diseases is extensive, with an emphasis on zoonotic infections and epidemic preparedness (whether deliberate or natural). He further performs editorial duties in major scientific journals oriented towards infectious diseases. Dr Pappas is the Chair of the ISAC Zoonoses Working Group.