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IAEA Scientific Forum: Preparing for Zoonotic Outbreaks - The Role of Nuclear Science

Vienna, Austria

High-level experts from around the world will discuss how to detect, identify and manage zoonotic diseases with the help of nuclear science at this year’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Scientific Forum from 21 to 22 September.

An estimated 60 to 70 per cent of known human infectious diseases come from animals. The two-day event, Preparing for Zoonotic Outbreaks - The Role of Nuclear Science, #Atoms4Health, will include live and virtual presentations on the emergence of these diseases and on the importance of research, early detection and monitoring, taking into consideration the role of nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques.

The meeting will take place in Board Room D of the C Building of the Vienna International Centre (VIC) and will be streamed live from the opening at 9:30 CEST on 21 September.

Details of the Scientific Forum can be found on the IAEA website and social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn). Photos of the Forum will also be available on Flickr.

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi will open the Forum along with speakers, including:

  • Mr Qu Dongyu, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Ms Monique Eloit, Director General, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
  • Mr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Ms Jane Goodall, Primatologist, Jane Goodall Institute
  • Mr Christian Happi, Director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Nigeria

Due to uncertainties related to the global COVID-19 situation, some speakers will address the Scientific Forum via a video link or with a recorded message.

Discussions at the Forum will centre around five sessions:

Session 1: Techniques for Detecting Pathogens and Monitoring Zoonoses will highlight the key role of scientific research and development in understanding and controlling zoonotic diseases and in detecting them at an early stage before they culminate in an outbreak or a pandemic.

Session 2: Understanding the Emergence of Infectious Diseases at the Animal-Human Interface will focus on animal-human interactions in the context of infectious diseases, highlighting the pathways through which emerging or re-emerging infections can lead to pandemics, as well as the role of science in mitigating potential outbreaks of zoonoses.

Session 3: The Role of Radiation Techniques in Dealing with the Impact of Zoonoses on Human Health will showcase the role of radiation techniques, such as medical imaging, for disease characterization in humans affected by zoonotic diseases, and the importance of advanced data analysis to support disease management.

Session 4: From Avian Flu to COVID-19 – the IAEA's Support to Countries will look at the IAEA’s active involvement in supporting disease detection and the experience of countries in detecting, identifying and managing zoonoses such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1; Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-SARS-CoV-1; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-MERS; Ebola, and currently SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

Session 5: Enhancing Global Preparedness to Control Zoonotic Diseases: ZODIAC will feature a high-level panel on the importance of partnerships and collaborations with national and international initiatives to strengthen the preparedness and capabilities of Member States to respond to the threats of zoonotic diseases such as the IAEA’s Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) initiative.


Journalists who wish to attend the Forum physically should contact the IAEA Press Office by 12:00 CEST on Friday, 17 September. We encourage those journalists who do not yet have permanent accreditation to request it at UNIS Vienna.

For online participation, please complete the registration form here.

COVID-19 Guidelines:

All physical participants must follow Austrian health guidelines including social distancing and the use of face masks on VIC premises, while working in the Press Room, exiting and entering all gates, in all security areas and in personal interactions with VIC personnel.

All attendees, including journalists, will be requested to complete a contact tracing form. They are also reminded of the host country requirements related to the low epidemiological risk when attending the meeting:

  • proof of a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours, or a rapid antigen test not older than 24 hours; or
  • proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination not older than 270 days and valid from the date of second vaccination, or proof of full vaccination with a vaccine that does not require a booster shot (e.g. Johnson & Johnson) not older than 270 days and valid from the 22nd day after vaccination; or
  • a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 illness not older than 180 days, or proof of positive test for neutralising antibodies not older than 90 days.

In this regard, by swiping their grounds pass/badge, journalists entering the VIC declare that they possess valid documentation meeting one or more of these criteria. They also confirm that they are able to produce the documentation to the organizers or VIC Medical Service, if required.


Last update: 16 September 2021

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