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Being Better Prepared for the Next Pandemic: Join us for the IAEA Scientific Forum on Zoonotic Outbreaks


Bubonic plague, avian flu, MERS, Ebola, COVID-19…all these illnesses have something in common – they were caused by a virus transmitted from animals to humans and managed to paralyze the world as we know it.

To help detect, identify and manage these so-called zoonotic diseases with the help of nuclear science, the IAEA is organizing a Scientific Forum with decision makers and leading experts in virology, immunology, veterinary medicine and radiology from 21 to 22 September. Anyone interested can attend online by filling the registration form here.

The devastating impact of COVID-19, as well as past pandemics and epidemics, compels us to make a concerted effort to address the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases,” said the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. These count for an estimated 60 to 70 per cent of known human infectious illnesses and claim 2.2 million lives annually. “Science is key – and nuclear and related techniques are part of the solution. It is important to work together; facilitate research, early detection and monitoring; and prepare for a timely response,” continued Grossi, who will open the Forum together with QU Dongyu, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Monique Eloit, Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Registered participants will be also able to hear remarks from Jane Goodall, the United Nations Messenger of Peace and the world's foremost ethologist and conservationist known for her long-term study into the lives of wild chimpanzees. She will be accompanied by Christian Happi, a professor of molecular biology and genomics and the director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in Nigeria, who is known for his contribution in sequencing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

In five sessions over two days, experts will highlight the role of nuclear science and global efforts in detecting zoonotic diseases and the IAEA’s support to its Member States in strengthening their preparedness capabilities to help control outbreaks.

They will also discuss the impact and future plans of the IAEA’s Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) – an initiative building on decades of the IAEA assistance in monitoring, surveillance, early detection and control of animal and zoonotic diseases such as avian flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola, and recently during the COVID-19 pandemic. ZODIAC helps national laboratories to expand the technical, scientific and laboratory capacity to quickly deliver equipment and know-how to countries.

Full programme of the Scientific Forum is here.

How to participate

The Forum will be held as a hybrid meeting with a possibility of online connection.

Anyone interested can register here and attend online on 21 and 22 September. Registered participants will also have an option of submitting questions to the leading experts. Official participants from Member States, UN Specialized Agencies, IGOs and NGOs, attending in person, can register using the InTouch+ platform.

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