August 14, 2017

More than 65 participants attended the second annual ZikaPLAN consortium meeting that took place at the historically important Pedro Kouri Institute (IPK) in Cuba, August 12-13.

ZikaPLAN Meetings and Workshop at the 15th International Dengue Course at IPK in Havana

International Dengue Course, a two-week course organized by ZikaPLAN partner, Prof. Maria Guzman from IPK and focused this year on the theme: “Challenges of Zika and Chikungunya transmission”.

The ZIkaPLAN consortium meeting aimed to address the following objectives:

  • Monitor the progress of the project
  • Provide updates on preliminary research results
  • Leverage existing networks and expertise across different working groups
  • Harmonize protocols and work towards data sharing with the other Zika consortia, ZIKAlliance and ZIKAction
  • Ensure ethical conduct of all studies
  • Encourage new spin-off projects
  • Showcase publications
  • Discuss pertinent scientific issues

"In addition to the scientific questions discussed, the intense debates about the future of Zika were particularly interesting - Where will the next outbreak move to and how can our work benefit an outbreak on another continent? When will Zika re-appear after a more than 10-month decline in cases globally?" commented Annelies Wilder-Smith, ZikaPLAN’s Scientific Coordinator. "We were very pleased to have the opportunity to further strengthen our cross-consortia collaboration through joint meetings with Xavier de Lamballerie, ZIKAlliance’s Scientific Coordinator, and representatives from his consortium, as well as with participants from ZIKAction and the REDe initiative," she added.

ZikaPLAN consortium members leveraged the opportunity to share their expertise with more than 150 international conference participants. Prior to the meeting, on August 11th, a public ZikaPLAN symposium covered topics ranging from the epidemiology of the Zika outbreak to the complex issues of diagnostics and vector-virus interactions.

The two NEURO ZIKA working groups also held a one-day workshop on the neurological complications of arboviral infections during the International Dengue Course. Chaired by Dr. Carlos A. Pardo of Johns Hopkins, the workshop featured clinical case presentations and interactive sessions. It provided clinicians with an overview of the major challenges linked to arboviral infections and potential approaches to dealing with those challenges in the future. The workshop sessions will be made available online to reach a greater number of clinicians confronted with treating arboviral infections.